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The latest update as of November 22, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

Our apologies for the lateness of these postings, and the lack of captions, but we have dedicated the next two days to filling in all - or as many as we have time to do - the blanks in our coverage of Auto Club NHRA Finals. We're still waiting to receive photos from Friday and Saturday's qualifying, but first things first, and that's eliminations on Sunday. One we've finished putting up all our photos and text from the event, we will transfer it to the "Features Page" and present it all in a chronological order. Stay tuned for that!


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - ROUND TWO ELIMINATIONS

James Stevens (near lane) vs Jackie Fricke 
(far lane) --- Julie Nataas (near lane) vs Mitch Myers 
(far lane)

(LEFT) In the far lane, Jackie Fricke (far lane) picked up the pace from her first round effort, dipping back into the 5-teens with a very strong 5.190 - 278.92 to put the blown alcohol car of James Stevens (near lane) in the trailer. Stevens gave it a good try with a solid 5.298 - 271.95 but was well back of Fricke at the finish line.

(RIGHT There was just one Meyer Racing car in attendance as Rachel Meyer had already maxed out her points earning capability, and clinched the 2021 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series with her win in the final round at the previous event in Las Vegas. Her team-mate, Julie Nataas (near lane), was set up to face the second place finisher in the standings, Jackie Fricke, by qualifying on the same side of the ladder. She had to advance to the semifinals to do so, and did it easily over Mitch Myers (far lane), as he went into instant tire shake, and shut off to an 8-second pass. Despite slowing more than a tenth from her first round 5.175, Nataas lit up the scoreboard with a 5.295 - 273.32 for the win.

Shawn Cowie --- Jasmine Salinas (near lane) vs Shawn Cowie 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Coming into the round with lane choice and consistent low 5.20's on his scorecard, Shawn Cowie burned out as he prepared to face another injected nitro car as his side of the ladder had only one other blown car, that of Chris Demke, who was eliminated in the first round.

(RIGHT Leaving first on the green was Jasmine Salinas in the near lane, and she took the win with a slightly off-pace 5.388 - 268.44 as Cowie saw his season end in a blaze of tire smoke as he coasted to a losing 18-second pass. That was it for the blown alky cars as the three that qualified were all gone before the second round ended.

Casey Grisel --- Casey Grisel (near lane) vs Rich McPhillips Jr. 
(far lane)

A solid burnout by Casey Grisel in the Jerry Darien-tuned car preceded his matchup with another green car. By the way, whatever happened to the "green cars are bad luck" mantra of the old days? Grisel qualified decently with a 5.30, but slowed to a 5.36 in the first round, and slowed even further to a 5.484 - 263.56 in a losing effor in this round. Casey left first on opponent Rich McPhillips Jr. (near lane) by nearly a tenth, but even a career best wouldn't have been close to McPhillips' nuclear pass of 5.101 - 282.42.

To put those numbers in perspective, Grisel's career best was a 5.247, turned in 2019, while McPhillips' previous best was a low 5-teen from earlier this season, and the best the car had run this year was a 5.123 with Matt Cummings at the wheel. In the "modern" era of A/Fuel Dragster racing (running on 95% nitro), there's only been two runs quicker than McPhillips' 5.101, both clocked last September at the U.S. Nationals by Megan Meyer, a 5.090, backed up by a 5.097 for the quickest runs in A/FD history.


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - ROUND TWO ELIMINATIONS

Terry Ruckman --- Terry Ruckman (near lane) vs Shane Westerfield 
(far lane)

Following a strong burnout, Terry Ruckman prepared to face Shane Westerfield in the Rick Jackson Motorsports entry. The two cars qualfied close together, with Westerfield #3 and Ruckman #4, with Westerfield's 5.498 edging out Ruckman's 5.506 on the final qualifying sheet. In this match, Ruckman left first by .011, but it was Westerfield (far lane) first to the finish line with a very good 5.531 - 268.06, to take a half car length victory over Ruckman's solid 5.654 - 261.47 in a losing cause.

Doug Gordon --- Doug Gordon (near lane) vs Ulf Leanders 
(far lane)

Outgoing class champion Doug Gordon burned out first as he prepared to meet Sweden's Ulf Leanders (far lane), who was making his first national event appearance since the 2020 Winternationals. Despite matching his qualifying numbers (5.493 - 267.48) in the first round with a 5.493 - 267.16, Gordon barely earned lane choice honours for this match as Leanders showed no rust on his tuning and driving skills with an almost-as-good 5.509 - 263.87 first round win. In this race, Leanders launched first by half a tenth, but his slightly off-pace 5.674 - 263.62 was no match for Gordon's back-breaking and consistent 5.494 - 267.96 as he advanced to the semifinals.

Brian Hough --- Brian Hough (near lane) vs Sean Bellemeur 
(far lane)

With his championship hopes long gone, Oregon's Brian Hough (left photo) has been in "testing" mode for the past few races, with tuning consultant, and former two-time national champion Jonnie Lindberg, trying out some new ideas in preparation for an all-out assault in 2022. However, his more immediate task was figuring out how to get past the incoming (and former) champion Sean Bellemeur (far lane in the right photo) and his all-conquering team of "Killer B's".

Hough did all he could with a stellar light (.014), and his best run of the weekend, an excellent 5.511 - 267.69, but it wasn't even close at the finish line against Bellemeur's almost as quick launch (.022 light), and low e.t. of the meet at 5.442 - 268.71 to advance to the final round. With the short 12-car field, Bellemeur earned the semifinal bye by virtue of his #1 qualifying position.


TOP FUEL - ROUND TWO ELIMINATIONS

Billy Torrence --- Billy Torrence (near lane) vs Antron Brown 
(far lane)

With the championship decided in the first round, the focus switched to the event win, and with the CAPCO Teammates on opposite sides of the ladder, the possibility of an all-CAPCO final was looming. However, Billy Torrence (burning out in left photo) had to get past Antron Brown (far lane in right photo). Torrence was a tad late off the line, .090 to .056 reaction, but clocked the quicker e.t. at 3.730 - 328.46 to give Brown a real battle. But it wasn't enough, as Brown's very good 3.747 - 327.35 turned on the winlight by just seventeen thousandths of a second.

Steve Torrence --- Steve Torrence (near lane) vs Doug Kalitta 
(far lane)

The other CAPCO car, driven by now four-time world champion Steve Torrence, (left photo) faced Doug Kalitta, (far lane in right photo), without lane choice. That advantage literally went up in smoke as Kalitta smoked the tires early and shut off to a losing 5.456 - 121.55 pass. Torrence had his own problems as he lost traction further down track, and coasted across the finish line with a 4.253 - 200.89 for the win.

Cameron Ferre --- Cameron Ferre (near lane) vs Clay Millican 
(far lane)

The biggest surprise of qualifying, and the first round, was Cameron Ferre (left photo) in the Canadian-based Paton Family car. He ran two career bests in qualifying, and upped the ante even further in the first round, but he came into this match against veteran Clay Millican (far lane in right photo) as an underdog. The drivers left the line almost together but the race was over quickly as Millican smoked the tires, and Ferre cruised to a slowing 3.889 - 304.19 win as he advanced to the semifinals.

The icing on the proverbial cake was earning lane choice over Steve Torrence. Regular NHRA fans may well remember a confrontation they had at the finals in Pomona two years ago. It got heated to the point where Torrence shoved/punched Ferre and the two had to be separated by their crewmen, and a large ($25,000) fine was issued to Torrence by the NHRA. I seriously doubt that their next meeting on the return road after their upcoming semifinal race will devolve into a similar incident.

Mike Salinas (near lane) vs Tripp Tatum 
(far lane)

The final pairing of the second round brought the two black cars to the line, with Mike Salinas in the near lane, and Tripp Tatum in the far lane. Tatum got off the line first by a small margin, but things went sideways, literally, soon after. Both cars smoked the tires, but Salinas ran into far more trouble than Tatum as can be seen in the following photo sequence, courtesy of NHRA.tv and the Sunoco Vision big screen at the track. For the record, Tatum took the win with a coasting 5.980 - 188.31, while Salinas didn't receive a timeslip, for obvious reasons.

Mike Salinas's wild ride --- Mike Salinas's wild ride --- Mike Salinas's wild ride

We've got a bunch more of these shots, unfortunately, none of them in sharp focus, but they do tell the tale of one of the wildest rides seen in a Top Fuel car in a very long time. While Mike Salinas has driven into - and thankfully, out of - trouble more than once in his career, this episode certainly tops the list. Once we've got the rest of our coverage from the Auto Club NHRA Finals posted, we'll go through the rest of the photos of this run and see if we can put together a better selection.


FUNNY CAR - ROUND TWO ELIMINATIONS

Bob Tasca III --- Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs Jim Campbell 
(far lane)

Despite being eliminated from championship contention when Ron Capps won his first round match, Bob Tasca III (left photo) forged ahead towards the event win by dispatching Jim Campbell (far lane in right photo) in the MOON Equipment car of Jim Dunn. Tasca and Campbell left the line together but Campbell was forced to lift early enroute to a 4.792 - 184.30 clocking that was no match for Tasca's best of the weekend 3.946 - 323.50 pass.

John Force --- John Force (near lane) vs Paul Lee 
(far lane)

Another racer that dropped out of the countdown chase at the close of qualifying, John Force (left photo), moved ahead with a convincing win over Paul Lee (far lane in right photo), who fell off his from his earlier passes. Force left second by two hundredths but kept the slicks hooked up to a decent 4.038 - 313.37 time to easily cover Lee's tire-smoking 6-second effort. With the 4.038 elapsed time, Force gave up lane choice to Bob Tasca III in the semifinal round.

Matt Hagan --- Matt Hagan (near lane) vs Ron Capps 
(far lane)

Next up was the BIG one: defending champion Matt Hagan (left photo) versus the points leader Ron Capps (far lane in the right photo). A win for Hagan would keep him in the hunt for the BIG trophy, but a loss to Capps would hand the NAPA driver his second world championship. Capps left first (.043 to .074), but Hagan had the superior car as his 3.948 - 322.24 took the win - by less than half a car length - over Capps' very close 3.995 - 319.45 effort. Now all Hagan had to do was turn on the winlight two more times to take his fourth world championship.

Alexis DeJoria --- Alexis DeJoria (near lane) vs Tim Wilkerson 
(far lane)

The round closed with Alexis DeJoria (left photo) facing off against Tim Wilkerson (far lane in right photo), in a race to determine Matt Hagan's semifinal round opponent. Wilkerson left first by a touch, but DeJoria powered on to another 3-second pass, stopping the clocks with a 3.988 - 318.92 to hold off Wilkerson's fading 4.268 - 227.42 timeslip. Unfortunately, DeJoria's e.t. wasn't enough to gain her choice of lanes in the all-important third round matchup.


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - ROUND THREE ELIMINATIONS

Julie Nataas (near lane) vs Jackie Fricke 
(far lane)

Even with a tenth of a second e.t. disadvantage, based on the previous round's results, Julie Nataas (near lane), improved a little to a 5.283 - 274.78 to end Jackie Fricke's (far lane) season. Fricke slowed by more than a tenth with a losing 5.315 - 276.01 pass to fall half a car length short at the finish line as Nataas earned her third final round berth of the season.

Jasmine Salinas --- Jasmine Salinas (near lane) vs Rich McPhillips Jr. 
(far lane)

Burning out with the least amount of tire smoke as possible seems to be the norm for the A/Fuel cars, as Jasmine Salinas (left photo) gets ready to face the McPhillips family juggernaut. Salinas rebounded from a somewhat sub-par second round 5.388 to a much better 5.275 - 280.31, while Rich McPhillips Jr. slowed from his other-worldly 5.101 in the previous round, but still stayed in the 5-teens, with a winning 5.172 - 274.33 timeslip. Even though both cars are tuned by Rich McPhillips (Sr.), there's no "team orders" and it's always an honest heads-up race when they meet.


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - ROUND THREE ELIMINATIONS

Shane Westerfield --- Doug Gordon

Prepping the tires for their semi-final round match, Shane Westerfield (left photo) and Doug Gordon (right photo) readied their mounts for the battle to come.

Doug Gordon (near lane) vs Shane Westerfield 
(far lane) --- Greg Bellemeur

(LEFT) Seeing who would get a chance to play giant killer, Doug Gordon (near lane) met Shane Westerfield (far lane) in what promised to be a good race. It certainly was as Westerfield left quickly with a great .031 light, then ran hard to the finish line with an excellent 5.516 - 267.22 that should have or could have been the winning numbers... but it wasn't. Gordon left quicker with an .010 light (in an alky Funny Car? are you kidding?) and lit up the scoreboard with another 5-forty, this time a 5.495 - 267.11 to show how consistent they can be on a good track.

(RIGHT With no one in the other lane to block their path to the final round, the "Killer B's decided to test the track to see what it could hold. Driver Sean Bellemeur quickly found out they'd gone a little (or a lot?) "over center" as the car went into instant tire shake, forcing him to shut off and coast to a 9-second pass and a ticket to the final round.


TOP FUEL - ROUND THREE ELIMINATIONS

Cameron Ferre --- Steve Torrence

(LEFT) Coming into the round on the biggest roll of his career, Cameron Ferre had some real confidence in the car underneath him on the strength of a string of 3.70-3.80 passes, and even had lane choice over the four-time world champion.

(RIGHT With the pressure of defending his championship long passed, Steve Torrence was free to concentrate on winning the event to cap a very successful season. Even though he'd run into some trouble in the previous round, and had lost lane choice, he knew that he had the most consistent winning combination in the class to back him up.

Cameron Ferre (near lane) vs Steve Torrence 
(far lane)

In the near lane, Cameron Ferre left first by 12 thousandths, but it didn't last long as Steve Torrence (far lane) pulled into a solid lead before the 330' mark. He continued to build on that until just past half track, when the engine went south and he was forced to coast across the finish line at 3.813 - 283.07, just six thousandths ahead of a rapidly closing challenger, as Ferre fell short with his 3.831 - 313.37. It was nearly a photo finish and was oh-so-close to putting Ferre in the final round instead of Torrence.

Antron Brown --- Tripp Tatum

Not quite side-by-side burnouts, but Antron Brown (left photo) and Tripp Tatum (right photo) lit up the tires before they decided who would be Torrence's final round opponent. While Brown had 125 previous final round appearances (mostly in Top Fuel), Tatum had never gone this far in Top Fuel eliminations before.

Tripp Tatum (near lane) vs Antron Brown 
(far lane)

With a less than one hundredth lead on reaction times, Antron Brown (far lane) saw his lead evaporate quickly as Tripp Tatum (near lane) outran him at all the early interval points. At the 660' mark, Tatum was still nearly two hundredths in front, but his engine started giving up at that point and he faded to a decent, but losing, 3.915 - 246.57 while Brown powered on to the win at 3.794 - 324.98 to go into the final with lane choice. Both semifinal races were close but there wasn't going to be a cinderella-style finish to the day in Top Fuel.


FUNNY CAR - ROUND THREE ELIMINATIONS

Alexis DeJoria --- Matt Hagan

In sharp contrast to Top Fuel, the drama level in the Funny Car semifinal was the highest of the season as Mat Hagan (right photo) had to win the event to snatch the championship out of Ron Capps hands. With Capps already eliminated (in the previous round), all he could do is hope that Alexis DeJoria (left photo) could stop Hagan.

Matt Hagan (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria 
(far lane)

Launching first by an (.054 to .081) margin, Matt Hagan (near lane) did his best to win but couldn't pull away from Alexis DeJoria (far lane) and could only get close as she tripped the winlight by a miniscule margin of eight thousandths of a second. The verdict: Hagan 3.975 - 317.79 for the loss, while DeJoria took the win with her 3.940 - 321.04 effort.

Bob Tasca III --- John Force

The other semifinal featured two of the Top Five cars in the class, as Bob Tasca III (left photo) prepared to meet John Force for the 35th time in eliminations. While both drivers were already eliminated from championship contention, they were still battling for the #3 spot in the final points standings.

Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs John Force 
(far lane)

Think the first pair of the semis put on a close race? It just got better in the second, as John Force (far lane) left first by nearly three hundredths, and held that lead until the 660' mark. Then Bob Tasca III (near lane) edged in front and held it to the finish line, stopping the timers first with a 3.950 - 322.58 to take the win by just four thousandths over Force's valiant try of 3.982 - 323.58. A great way to wrap up a great round of racing.


PRO STOCK - ROUND THREE ELIMINATIONS

Kyle Koretsky --- Kyle Koretsky (near lane) vs Dallas Glenn 
(far lane)

With both racers in the first pairing locked into the #3 and #4 positions in the final points standings, the only unknown for Kyle Koretsky (left photo) and Dallas Glenn (far lane in right photo) would be who would advance to the final round. As he's done so often in a brilliant rookie season, Glenn had the quicker reaction time, an .027 light - his slowest of eliminations, after an other-worldly .001 and merely great .017 in previous rounds.

Koretsky wasn't far behind with an .043 light, but took the lead very quickly as Glenn ran into major tire shake and shut off to a 20-second clocking. Koretsky lit up the scoreboard with a 6.601 - 208.71 to move into the final round against what promised to be a very tough opponent, no matter who won in the next pairing.

Greg Anderson --- Greg Anderson (near lane) vs Erica Enders 
(far lane)

Burning out before his most important round of racing in 2021, Greg Anderson (left photo), prepared to meet arch-rival Erica Enders (far lane in right photo) in the race that could decide the World Championship. If Anderson won, then the championship would be his. If Enders won, then she would have to defeat Kyle Koretsky in the final round to take the title. Even higher drama than the Funny Car semifinal as this would be a head-to-head match between the two championship contenders.

Enders left first - by a bunch in Pro Stock terms - and gave herself an immediate .041 lead on the launch. But she shook the tires early, pedaled and couldn't recover enough to catch Anderson's winning 6.578 - 208.23 pass, as he stayed in the 6.50's all weekend. Enders' final numbers were 6.742 - 206.92 in a losing cause.


TOP DRAGSTER - ROUND FOUR ELIMINATIONS

John Richardson (near lane) vs Parker Theobald 
(far lane) --- John Richardson

(LEFT) Moving to the Top Dragster class, we've got John Richardson (near lane) taking on Parker Theobald (far lane) in their semifinal match.

(RIGHT) Richardson left just two thousandths of a second before the green, and coasted to an 8-second loss, while Theobald took the easy win with a safe 7.480 - 181.13 clocking.

Summer Richardson (near lane) vs Jennifer Wiens 
(far lane)

In the other pairing of the semis, Jennifer Wiens (far lane) took a slight lead on the starting line and held on for the win over Summer Richardson (near lane) in a double breakout race. Wiens broke out by two hundredths less, making her 6.190 - 220.94 a winning time over Richardson's 6.430 - 211.39 effort.


TOP SPORTSMAN - ROUND FOUR ELIMINATIONS

Ryan Priddy --- Ryan Priddy (near lane) vs Florentino Martin 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Burning out in the familiar (remember the Pro Stock car they used to run?) "Mountain View Tire" colours, Ryan Priddy prepared to meet his semifinal round opponent in Top Sportsman eliminations.

(RIGHT) Facing him would be Florentino Martin (far lane) and after nearly identical reaction times, Priddy took the win by virtue of a smaller breakout (.003) to Martin's (.011) infraction. Priddy's winning time was a quick 6.617 - 209.33 while Martin's losing times were quicker and faster at 6.409 - 224.62.

Jeff Gillette (near lane) vs Jimmy Lewis 
(far lane)

The other semifinal match saw veteran Jeff Gillette (near lane) take an even closer race as he ran dead-on his 6.95 dial-in with a 6.950 -199.61 for the win. Despite reacting almost as quickly as Gillette (.031 to .030), Jimmy Leeds (far lane) couldn't quite hit his dial with a very close, but losing, 6.410 - 206.48 effort.


SUPER STOCK ELIMINATOR - ROUND FIVE ELIMINATIONS

Angelo DeCarlo - SS/HA

Coming from the #1 qualifying spot in the 57-car field with a great 9.621 e.t. in his '66 Corvette split-window, Angelo DeCarlo, went all the way to the final round before dropping a close decision to event winner Jimmy DeFrank. He's shown here wheelstanding his way to a win in the semifinal round with another 9.60 pass.


COMP ELIMINATOR - FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS

Scott McClay - C/ED

We've even got a Comp(licated) Eliminator photo, that of Scott McClay as he launches his C/ED enroute to a loss in the final round of Comp. His opponent Ryan Warter in his H/A (not shown) ran -.481 under the index to defeat McClay's -.441 run, started with a sterling .006 light. The margin at the finish line was less than two hundredths of a second.


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS

Doug Gordon --- Doug Gordon (near lane) vs Sean Bellemeur 
(far lane)

How could the final round of alky funny car not feature the two dominant players in the class? We've got Doug Gordon (left photo and near lane in right photo) and Sean Bellemeur (far lane in the right photo) going for the gold in a classic matchup. Coming into the final, they'd both been stuck in the 5.40's, with the exception of Bellemeur's tire shaking moonshot attempt on his semifinal bye run.

The race started as it almost always does with Bellemeur launching first (.023 to .043) and fractionally increasing the margin all the way to the finish line. The winlight came on in Bellemeur's lane with an excellent 5.465 - 266.32 as he crossed the stripe less than a car length ahead of Gordon's very close 5.483 - 268.33 time for his sixth national event win of his championship winning season. A tremendous finish to a season of great racing between the two best Top Alcohol Funny Car racers and crews in the business.


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS

Julie Nataas (near lane) vs Rich McPhillips Jr. 
(far lane)

There was just one more race before the PRO finalists came out and it featured the quickest and fastest (Pro) Sportsman class, the Top Alcohol Dragsters. This season, more than any in memory has seen the A/Fuel Dragsters take over and dominate the category. True to form, the two quickest injected nitro cars met in the final. Note that of the 17 entries in the field, just four were burning methanol (alcohol), only three of them qualified, and only two made it to the second round of eliminations.

After an earth-shaking 5.101 pass in the second round, Rich McPhillips Jr. (far lane) had to be the heavy favourite against the Randy Meyer Racing team car of Julie Nataas (near lane). Ms. Nataas qualified #3 in the show with a very good 5.195, then improved to a 5.175 in her first round win before dropping into the high 5.20's in the next two rounds. On the other side of the track, McPhillips had qualified on top with a 5.155, then stayed in the 5-teens throughout eliminations, with only one run not in the teens going into the final.

When the ambers flashed, Nataas left first by .021 and held the lead until McPhillips passed her at half track, running only one mph faster, but leading by .005 second. It stayed close all the way to the 1320, where McPhillips tripped the timers first with his 5.138 - 278.81 taking the win over Nataas' very close 5.173 - 276.58. The gap at the finish line was barely a quarter car length between the two hard running cars.


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS

Karen Stoffer (near lane) vs Matt Smith 
(far lane)


PRO STOCK - FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS

Greg Anderson --- Kyle Koretsky

Greg Anderson (near lane) vs Kyle Koretsky 
(far lane)


FUNNY CAR - FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS

Bob Tasca III --- Alexis DeJoria

Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria 
(far lane)


TOP FUEL - FINAL ROUND ELIMINATIONS

Steve Torrence --- Antron Brown

Steve Torrence (near lane) vs Antron Brown 
(far lane)



The latest update as of November 21, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

PRO STOCK - ROUND ONE ELIMINATIONS

Deric Kramer --- Deric Kramer (near lane) vs Kenny Delco 
(far lane)

Aaron Stanfield --- Aaron Stanfield (near lane) vs Cristian Cuadra 
(far lane)

Mason McGaha --- Mason McGaha (near lane) vs Chris McGaha 
(far lane)

Erica Enders --- Erica Enders (near lane) vs Steve Graham 
(far lane)

Matt Hartford --- Matt Hartford (near lane) vs Bob Butner 
(far lane)

Kyle Koretsky --- Kyle Koretsky (near lane) vs Troy Coughlin Jr. 
(far lane)

Greg Anderson --- Greg Anderson (near lane) vs John Callahan 
(far lane)

Dallas Glenn --- Dallas Glenn (near lane) vs Alan Prusiensky 
(far lane)

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - ROUND ONE ELIMINATIONS

Scotty Pollacheck (near lane) vs Andrew HInes 
(far lane) --- Angie Smith (near lane) vs Angelle Sampey 
(far lane)

Steve Johnson (near lane) vs Freddy Camerena 
(far lane) --- Eddie Krawiec (near lane) vs Chris Bostick 
(far lane)

Matt Smith (near lane) vs Ryan Oehler 
(far lane) --- Karen Stoffer (near lane) vs Kelly Clontz 
(far lane)



The latest update as of November 19, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

FUNNY CAR - ROUND ONE ELIMINATIONS

Paul Lee --- Jeff Diehl
Jeff Diehl (near lane) vs Paul Lee 
(far lane) --- Jeff Diehl (near lane) vs Paul Lee 
(far lane)

The upper row has Paul Lee (left) and Jeff "The Surfer" Diehl (right) burning out as they prepare to be the first floppers down the track in the first round of eliminations.

Diehl (near lane) left first by a few hundredths on Lee (far lane), but started smoking the tires almost immediately and shut off to a 9-second clocking, while Lee sped to the finish line with his best run of the weekend at 3.908 - 327.98.

Robert Hight --- Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell (near lane) vs Robert Hight 
(far lane) --- Jim Campbell (near lane) vs Robert Hight 
(far lane)

Bobby Bode --- Alexis DeJoria

Bobby Bode (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria 
(far lane)

Terry Haddock --- Terry Haddock

Ron Capps --- Terry Haddock (near lane) vs Ron Capps 
(far lane)

Chad Green --- Chad Green (near lane) vs John Force 
(far lane)

Tony Jurado --- Matt Hagan

Tony Jurado (near lane) vs Matt Hagan 
(far lane)

Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane) --- Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane)

Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane) --- Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Cruz Pedregon 
(far lane)

Bob Tasca III --- Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs J.R. Todd 
(far lane)



The latest update as of November 18, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

Following the usual pre-race ceremonies (we'll have those photos later), eliminations kicked off - as always - with the "Kings (and Queens) of The Sport", TOP FUEL.

TOP FUEL - ROUND ONE ELIMINATIONS

Doug Kalitta (near lane) vs Josh Hart 
(far lane) --- Doug Kalitta (near lane) vs Josh Hart 
(far lane)

The first pair came out of the middle of the field, as Doug Kalitta (near lane) was looking for a good, or at least better, finish to what was otherwise a fairly miserable season for the veteran MAC Tools driver. Facing him was Rookie of The Year candidate, Josh Hart (far lane), who won his first race in Top Fuel, the Gatornationals, in March, and followed up that initial success with another win (Charlotte) and four semi-final appearances in a shortened 13-race schedule.

After so many disappointing passes, Kalitta put it all together with his quickest and fastest times of the season, a very strong 3.709 - 327.66 to take an easy win as Hart ran into trouble early and shut off to a 4.391 - 181.03 to close out his season on a rather down note as he finished with three straight first round losses.

Alex Laughlin --- Alex Laughlin (near lane) vs Clay Millican 
(far lane)

(LEFT) A real surprise this year was Alex Laughlin, who jumped into the seat of Scott Palmer's car at Denver, qualifying in his first race after licensing just four days earlier. He managed to turn that one-race deal into seven races and notch a pair of round wins, with the first coming at the U.S. Nationals. Alex showed some real marketing moxie, putting together some creative deals, including the "500 Fans Club" that sponsored his Auto Club Finals appearance.

(RIGHT) Laughlin (near lane) gave Clay Millican (far lane) a real battle in the first round, nearly matching his career best numbers (3.759 - 321.04), set in qualifying, with an almost as good 3.764 - 321.04 clocking. However, Millican left first by four hundredths, and ran just a little quicker at 3.736 - 324.67 to take the winlight by little more than a car length.

Justin Ashley --- Justin Ashley (near lane) vs Antron Brown 
(far lane)

(RIGHT) The next pair put on an even closer race, with Justin Ashley (near lane) looked to rebound from qualifying in the #12 position, despite a very good 3.765 - 320.67 effort.

(RIGHT) Ashley has some serious reaction time credentials, but his opponent, Antron Brown (far lane), left first by a hundredth or so and put down an excellent 3.717 - 328.94 to hold off Ashley's hard charging, and quicker, 3.713 - 329.42 effort. The margin at the finish line was barely a quarter car length as Brown rebounded from three consecutive first round losses to advance to the second round.

Steve Chrisman --- Steve Chrisman (near lane) vs Mike Salinas 
(far lane)

(LEFT) After spending the 2020 season on the sidelines, SoCal veteran Steve Chrisman made his third appearance of the season in the Worsham Racing (Chuck & Del) car and slid into the field on the bump with an early shutoff 4.106 - 257.83 pass.

(RIGHT That earned Chrisman a first round date with the #1 qualifier, Mike Salinas (far lane), in the "Scrappers Racing" entry. They left nearly together, but Salinas steadily opened the gap on Chrisman and turned on the winlight with a 3.745 - 327.98 that train-lengthed Chrisman's creditable 4.125 - 272.94 time.

Cameron Ferre --- Cameron Ferre (near lane) vs Leah Pruett 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Coming out of the waterbox with the tires spinning hard, Cameron Ferre came into the first round with some real confidence in his car. The Paton family team, based in Canada, was finally able to cross the border a month ago and made their season debut at Bristol with Ferre behind the wheel. Their next event, Las Vegas, saw Ferre clock three straight career bests, ringing up a 3.85, 3.82, and 3.81 in succession before smoking the tires in the first round. Their performances here in qualifying followed a similar pattern as Ferre opened qualifying with a 3.880 before finishing with another career best e.t. of 3.803 at 312.28 mph.

(RIGHT) Having to face a tough customer in Leah Pruett, (far lane) in the opening round, Ferre left first by a smidgen and ran yet another career best, breaking into the 3.70's with a 3.796 - 319.75 to send Pruett packing. She faded early to a losing 5.053 - 189.71 to end her season on a sour note after qualifying in the #3 position.

Brandon Welch --- Steve Torrence

(LEFT) Another one of the many success stories coming out of this event saw Brandon Welch rebound nicely from a frustrating race at the previous event in Las Vegas, where he ran a very decent 3.94, but was bumped out of the field in the last qualifying session. Here, he picked up the pace a little and ran a new season best and broke his personal 300-mph barrier with a 3.919 - 308.28 that left him in the #15 qualifying spot.

(RIGHT) Facing him was the three time defending Top Fuel champion, on the brink of a "four-peat", as Steve Torrence came into Pomona with an almost insurmountable lead in the points standings, and only needed a first round win over Welch to clinch the title.

Brandon Welch (near lane) vs Steve Torrence 
(far lane)

As expected, the championship went to Steve Torrence (far lane) as he pounded out a solid 3.769 - 326.00 to take the big trophy back to Texas yet again. It didn't come that easy though, as Brandon Welch put up a solid fight, leaving just a tick behind Torrence, then chasing him to the finish line with another season best e.t. and career best speed at 3.877 - 309.13 to close out his season on a high note.

Tripp Tatum --- Tripp Tatum (near lane) vs Shawn Langdon 
(far lane)

(LEFT) Getting a late start on the season, with his first race at the U.S. Nationals, Tripp Tatum got up to speed, so to speak, quickly with a 3.87 best at Indy, followed with an excellent 3.714 - 333.16 at St. Louis. His next event, at Las Vegas, saw the 3.70's - 330's continue with bests of 3.711 - 331.61 and another round win after his first at St. Louis. He started a little slower here in Pomona, landing in the #9 qualifying spot with a 3.750 best.

(RIGHT) Despite giving Shawn Langdon an early advantage on reaction times (.040 to .091), Tatum was able to quickly take control of the race, clocking a new career best elapsed time (a recurring theme in this report) at 3.704 - 327.51 to get past the first round for the third event in a row. He also earned lane choice over low qualifier Mike Salinas with the very quick e.t.

Brittany Force --- Brittany Force (near lane) vs 
Billy Torrence (far lane)

(LEFT) Although the championship was now officially out of her reach, Brittany Force still had a chance to win the final Camping World Drag Racing Series event of the year. Despite her lowly (#13) qualifying position, the worst for her in more than two years, she still had a chance to win her second event of the season.

(RIGHT) Facing her in the far lane, Billy Torrence came close to matching his qualifying time with a 3.730 - 328.30 for a runaway win. As can be clearly seen in the photo, Force was already smoking the tires before she passed the Christmas tree.

Brittany Force - Tiresmoke --- Brittany Force - Tiresmoke --- Brittany Force - Tiresmoke

Here's a trio of shots showing just how quickly and comprehensively Brittany Force smoked the tires enroute to her last run of the 2021 season. And that was a wrap for the first round of Top Fuel eliminations. Next up: Funny Car eliminator.



The latest update as of November 14, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

11:00 AM UPDATE


The first round of nitro eliminations are in the books now and the Top Fuel championship went, as expected, to Steve Torrence as he outran Brandon Welch in a good side-by-side battle. Putting a final exclamation mark on Torrence's win was Brittany Force going into heavy and instant tire smoke as she fell to Steve's father in her first round race. Number three in the points, Mike Salina continued his string of good runs, advancing to the second round and closing the gap to Force to just 18 points. If he can get past Tripp Tatum - no small task - in the second round, he will finish #2 in Top Fuel for 2021.

NEWS FLASH

The tuner for Mike Salinas' "Scrappers Racing" team for the past two seasons is moving to the Connie Kalitta conglomerate in 2022, heading up the Top Fuel and (presumably) the Funny Car teams of Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd. Big changes in the Kalitta operation have been rumoured for some time, mainly due to the poor performances they've had this season, but last night the announcement was made and it's official. It could be just one of many "game changers" coming for the sport next season. Stay tuned for more news of changes as they happen.


10:00 AM UPDATE


At the close of qualifying yesterday, the championship chase(s) in the four PRO categories came into sharper focus. Coming into the final race of the 2021 season, three drivers had at least a mathematical chance of taking the championship, but that was quickly reduced to two, defending champion Steve Torrence and former (2017) champion Brittany Force, after Friday's first qualifying session.

It's almost a foregone conclusion that Torrence will end the battle in the first round, as he faces nitro newbie Brandon Welch in the first round. In contrast, Force has a big mountian to climb due to her uncharacteristically poor qualifying position (#13), and she has to race Billy Torrence in the first round. And that's never an easy race against a very tough opponent.

Despite a valiant late-season charge, Mike Salinas was dropped from contention, but has a chance to finish second in the standings if Force goes out early in today's eliminations, as he's only 48 points behind her before racing gets underway this morning. Here's the chart showing the respective points totals for all of the Top Ten Countdown racer.

Top Fuel Countdown Points November 13, 2021

While the Top Fuel battle is all but over, there are some seriously dramatic scenarios playing out in the other three classes, starting with Funny Car.



Funny Car Countdown Points November 13, 2021

Pro Stock Countdown Points November 13, 2021

Pro Stock Motorcycle Countdown Points November 13, 
2021

The latest update as of November 13, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

10:00 AM UPDATE


Despite his best efforts, including the quickest pass in the first qualifying session last night, Mike Salinas has been officially eliminated from championship contention in Top Fuel. He now sits 171 points behind leader Steve Torrence but could only gain a maximum of 165 points if Torrence qualifies in the bottom quarter of the field and loses in the first round. In second place in the standings, Brittany Force fell off her torrid string of qualifying results, landing in the #11 spot in the field and losing ground to Torrence. She now sits 108 points behind him and could see herself eliminated from the chase when qualifying ends this afternoon.

In Funny Car, two of the three "on the bubble" racers were eliminated from contention, despite the low qualifying effort of Robert Hight and the #6 position of Bob Tasca III. That leaves John Force on very thin ice as he needs the racers above him in the standings to fall in the first round while he wins the race, after taking low qualifier in each of today's sessions and #1 for the entire field. A very tall order for the "ol' truck driver".

At the top of the points heap sits Ron Capps, and he widened the gap on second place Matt Hagan last night. It's now a 61 point lead, or just a hair more than two round wins. If that margin stays the same, or widens, then Hagan will have a very difficult time catching him.

To be continued... stay tuned!


The latest update as of November 12, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

Auto Club NHRA FINALS - Thursday Top Alcohol Qualifying highlights

After three days of angst, anger, and frustration, we're finally back online with the first - of many - postings from the final event on the Camping World Drag Racing Series calendar, the 57th annual running of the Auto Club NHRA Finals from fabled Auto Club Raceway Pomona. On hand to capture all the action with his clutch of Nikon cameras in hand is our hard working photograher, "BIG" Bob Snyder. Here's his first installment from the Top Alcohol Funny Car and Dragster qualifying session late yesterday afternoon.

At the end of a decidedly less than scintillating qualifying session, which saw one lane departure (Don Hudson crossed the centerline), a big engine explosion on the burnout (Mike Doushgounian), a big "bang" near the finish line (Chris Marshall) and a "large plume of smoke" crossing the finish line (Brian Hough), the fans finally got to see two cars make great side-by-side passes to the 1320' mark. Three cars had made very good passes earlier, with Shane Westerfield leading the way at 5.498 - 267.80, followed closely by Terry Ruckman at 5.514 - 267.80 and Brian Hough a little further back with a 5.543 - 259.16 clocking.

Sean Bellemeur - 'Hussey Performance' - TA/FC --- Doug Gordon - 'BETA Motorcycles' - TA/FC

Scoreboards

However, as so often happens, the best was saved for last, as newly crowned national champion Sean Bellemeur (LEFT photo) got to the stripe first with low e.t. and top speed of the session, 5.474 - 269.89, to edge out the outgoing champion, Doug Gordon, (RIGHT photo), who trailed by less than a car length with an excellent 5.493 - 267.48 pass for the second spot on the ladder.

Julie Nataas - 'OTG' - A/FD

With 17 cars entered in the dragster field, qualifying wasn't guaranteed to be a "knock down - drag out" affair, but the first baker's dozen of cars down the track laid down some good runs, with Canada's Dan Mercier leading the way with one of his best passes of the season, a 5.260 - 272.17. Just a few thousandths behind at 5.268 - 273.88 was the blown car of James Stevens. As the final two pairs prepared to run, the #3 car on the ladder was the rookie Eric Chesleigh, making his first national event start and clocking a very respectable 5.406 - 254.81 in his maiden voyage.

In an all-female pairing, running opposite Jasmine Salinas was the #4 driver in the national points standings, Julie Nataas (above), and she topped everyone with low e.t. of the round at 5.232 - 274.72 in her first appearance at Pomona in the Meyer Racing A/Fuel car.

Jackie Fricke - 'Finke Equipment' - A/FD --- Shawn Cowie - 'Mundie's Towing' - B/AD

The final pair had good conditions in which to attempt to wrest the top qualifying spot from Nataas, but Jackie Fricke (LEFT) fell just short with a second best effort of 5.245 - 277.94 (top speed of the round), to outrun Canada's Shawn Cowie (RIGHT) to the finish line as he stopped the clocks with a fourth best of the session 5.261 - 277.89 to close out qualifying on the first day of the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Check out the scoreboard shot below to see the numbers.

Scoreboards

NOTE:   While filling in the details on this post, I realized that I've been writing Greg Bellemeur, instead of his correct name Sean. I don't know how long or how many times I've made that mistake, but it showed up at least half a dozen times over the past two weeks, and possibly more often and further back than that. Frankly, I don't how our proofreader missed those errors, but they are corrected now. At least the ones I've found so far. Any further corrections are invited. PS: Greg Bellemeur is Sean's father, and has a very long and illustrious career in drag racing, driving an assortment of nitro burning hot rods in Southern California and beyond.


3:00 PM UPDATE:

They've just finished running the second qualifying session for the Top Alcohol Funny Cars and Dragsters at Pomona. There were some definite improvements in both classes, but it's still been a tough track for some of the teams to overcome. However, the first three pairs of funny cars carded side-by-side 5-second runs to improve the look of the 12-car field to show that it was possible to make very good runs. Although the atmospheric conditions were worse than Thursday, with air temp up from 83 to 89 (F) and an extra 200 feet of corrected altitude, only Brian Hough failed to improve on his day first day clocking. The only downside in the group was another engine explosion and oildown from Mike Doushgounian, which held things up for 15 minutes of cleanup.

In contrast, only two cars out of the final three pairs made it to the finish line under power, with Ulf Leanders running just .001 slower than his Thursday effort, and Sean Bellemeur putting out some serious engine smoke on the top end as he shut off early to a 5.566 - 243.85 to close out the session.

On the dragster side, the 17-car field necessitated a bye run to start the round, and that saw Trevor Larkin get on the board after his failed attempt on Thursday, with a decent, but labouring 5.611 - 247.75 pass. Yesterday's bump spot holder, Johnny Ahten, knocked six seconds off his Thursday e.t. but the scoreboard showed only an 8.327 which left him #14 on the ladder. Starting from the #17 spot going into the final qualifying session tomorrow will be Taylor Vetter as she had another troubled pass, smoking the tires hard and early for a near duplication of her first run of the weekend.

The first big shot fired in the session came from the Jerry Darien-tuned car of Casey Grisel, as he jumped all the way from the bump spot to the #6 position with a very good 5.307 - 274.66, running alongside Eric Chesleigh, who backed up his earlier 5.406 with a consistent 5.429 pass. In the next pair, Kim Parker got off the new bump spot with a decent 5.462 - 255.05, despite a dropped cylinder on the top end. Then things started getting quicker and faster, as Madison Payne vaulted all the way from #15 to the second spot in the field with an excellent 5.237 - 278.12 that also notched a new top speed for the class.

The final two pairs saw, as expected, the best runs of the round, starting with Jackie Fricke going a little quicker (5.218 following her 5.245 on Thursday), but that was only second best in that pairing, as Rich McPhillips Jr. broke into the 5-teens, with a new #1 pass of 5.184 - 266.69 to move from #12 to the top spot. In the final pair, yesterday's low qualifier, Julie Nataas, tried to take back the #1 position, but fell just short with a 5.195 - 273.05 that moved her past Fricke into the #2 position. In the other lane, Shawn Cowie, in the quickest blown car in the field, improved by a fraction, with a 5.252 - 277.49 that moved him up one spot to the #5 rung on the ladder heading into Saturday's final qualifying session.


6:00 PM UPDATE:

The first qualifying session for the PRO classes is now in the books at Pomona. The first class out of the lanes, the Pro Stock Motorcycles, saw only 12 bikes, of the 14 pre-entered, come out for their session. And of those 12 bikes, only eight riders made it into the 6's, with just two in the 6.70's, led by defending world champion Matt Smith at 6.779 - 210.19, while Karen Stoffer was close behind at 6.785 - 197.97. The two closest pursuers to Smith in the Countdown, Steve Johnson, in the #2 spot, and Angelle Sampey (#3), laid down competitive runs, with Johnson holding the third spot in the field, courtesy of a 6.811 - 197.39, while Sampey sat one position lower with a 6.819 - 196.76.

Pro Stock (cars) saw all 17 entries make an attempt in their qualifying session, with one car, that of Mike Callahan, not getting a timeslip due to a SB3A (start before three ambers - or, in other words, leaving before the tree was activated). Despite some good early results, it was fully halfway through before the first 6.50's started popping up on the scoreboards, with Deric Kramer and Matt Hartford clocking side-by-side 6.594's, both at 208 mph, to take the early lead in the field. Their lead didn't last long, as the next car down the track, Mason McGaha ran a little quicker at 6.589 to take the top spot.

Greg Anderson - 'Hendrick Cars


That held for one pair, until Kyle Koretsky and Dallas Glenn one-upped them by one hundredth of a second at 6.584, both at 208 mph to take over the top spots on the ladder. Koretsky took the #1 position by .12 of a mph over Glenn's #2, pushing Hartford back to #3 and Kramer down to #4. But - and (don't) stop me if you've read this before - the best was saved for last as the top two in the Countdown standings met in the final pair. Greg Anderson covered everyone with a very strong 6.566 - 210.21 for the top spot, while Erica Enders could "only" manage a 6.589 - 209.04 for the #4 position after the first session.

As the sun set over the Pomona hills, the really fast cars started coming out of the lanes, with Funny Car leading off. Of the 20 cars in the pits, 19 made it to the starting line, with the Jason Rupert team still thrashing to get their replacement bodied entry into racing shape, under the direction of Rahn Tobler and Johnny West. The first pair down the track turned into a single as Gary Densham - in what may or may not be his 500th NHRA national event - didn't move when the lights came down and he shut off at the line. The first actual pair saw very good side-by-side runs by hard core privateers, with Jeff Diehl making his best pass of the season at 4.031 - 314.24 to take the #2 spot, behind Tony Jurado, who kept his 3-second barrage continuing, with an opening 3.988 - 316.08, good for the top spot. That was just .002 off his career best, rung up at the previous event on the tour in Las Vegas.

Robert Hight - 'Auto Club' - FC


That early 3-second run by Jurado held onto the #1 spot through the next three pairs, until the first side-by-side 3-second times rang up on the scoreboards, with Robert Hight (pictured above) dropping into the 3.80's with an excellent 3.894 - 330.55 to leave Alexis DeJoria nearly a tenth back at 3.954 - 318.92 in the second spot. The next pair challenged Hight but didn't displace him as Bob Tasca III (3.975) and John Force (3.939) muscled into the top four, in the #2 and #3 spots. The final four cars were the only ones with a real chance for the championship and they had varying results. Cruz Pedregon made his mark with a solid 3.939 - 321.96, which ended up in the #4 spot, while the final pair matched up the top two cars in the standings. Second place Matt Hagan shook the tires before the 330' mark and shut off to a 4.483, while Ron Capps ran strong into the #2 spot on the ladder at 3.908 - 329.83 as he increased his lead over Hagan to 61 points after the first session.

Finishing off the day were the Top Fuel cars as the track was now in almost full darkness with header flames rising high into the night as the session began. It began with two single passes, as Steve Chrisman (driving the Worsham family car) remained in the pits, saving parts and money. In the second bye run, Cameron Ferre put the Paton family car (from Canada) into the 3.80's with a career best 3.880, despite an early shutoff at 299.66 mph. The first pairing saw two 3.75 runs, with Tripp Tatum laying down a 3.752 - 306.67, while Alex Laughlin (in the Scott Palmer car) turned career bests of 3.759 - 324.83 to put a temporary hold on the #2 spot on the charts.

Those numbers held up for just one more pair until Kalitta teammates Shawn Langdon and Doug Kalitta put on a impressive display with a great side-by-side race. Langdon came out on top, and temporarily led the field with a 3.747 - 324.05, while Kalitta was just a little slower at 3.759 - 321.65 for the #4 position. That fourth spot very quickly became #6 for Kalitta, as the next pairing saw Clay Millican ease into #4 with a 3.756 - 321.12, while in the other lane, Antron Brown jumped into the top spot with a super strong 3.719 - 329.26 timeslip. But that top qualifying run was erased in the very next pair, as Billy Torrence nipped Brown with a 3.713 - 330.47 to put a hold on low e.t. and top speed.

Mike Salinas - 'Scrappers Racing' - TF


As the session wound down to a conclusion, the three championship contenders, and one "pretender" (no offense, but Justin Ashley's only got a super-slim chance to win the crown, came out to try for the top qualifying spots and the all-important bonus points that go with the top four spots. Mike Salinas (pictured above), who's been on a bit of a tear recently and fought his way into contention with final appearances, including one win in the last two races, blasted out a booming 3.694 - 328.78 to stake his claim for the #1 qualifier. Then it was down to the top two in the standings, in what has become an almost certain top qualifying battle, between leader Steve Torrence and challenger Brittany Force. It didn't quite go to plan as Force lost traction before the 600' mark, while Torrence had his own problems, with the engine going sour on the top end, limiting him to a close, but not close enough, 3.698 - 317.05 for the second spot on the ladder.



The latest update as of November 9, 2021


Auto Club NHRA FINALS logo

Auto Club NHRA FINALS - Auto Club Raceway at Pomona - November 11 - 14

We've just received confirmation that our photographer, Bob Snyder, will be at the starting line at fabled Parker Avenue this weekend. It's the final event of a very interesting Camping World Drag Racing Series season that has seen postponements, cancellations, rescheduling, but has perservered and will finally reach the finish line on Sunday afternoon. How else can you describe a season that saw the Winternationals at the end of July, the March Meet at the end of May, in any terms other than strange?

The one constant from previous years is that the racing was intense, the racers showed up in more than respectable numbers, and the fans came back to fill - or at least partially fill - the grandstands. And we can look forward to an even better and more "normal" season in 2022. New teams, new drivers, new sponsors, a new (old) class, Factory Experimental, and more racing with more international, especially Canadian, competitors. And we plan to be there as often as possible to capture the sights and stories that make drag racing such an incredible sport.

Our Pomona coverage will begin Friday, continue through the weekend, and on into next week as we gather all the details and get the photo galleries organized. Stay tuned for all the updates throughout the weekend as they happen.

There are 425 entries for the Auto Club NHRA Finals.


The latest update as of November 7, 2021


Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - Division 7

After a test 'n tune day (Thursday) and two days of qualifying, eliminations got underway for the Top Alcohol cars late yesterday afternoon at the final regional event of the 2021 season at Las Vegas. Qualifying in the 17-car Top Alcohol Dragster field was intense, with the second quickest bump spot of the season (regionally) at 5.341, with the first two alternates in the 5.30's, followed by the next four cars in the 5.40's. Stout indeed. While the Funny Car field wasn't as large, at 10 entries, the bump spot was very quick at 5.635, and the first alternate was close behindf at 5.678 (Brian Hough).

First round eliminations featured a couple of upsets, first in the dragsters, as #2 in national points, Jackie Fricke, bowed out after leading the field in qualifying with a very stout 5.188 - 275.39 pass. She slowed just a little and fell to hard running west coaster Casey Grisel by a 5.247 to 5.269 margin. One other lower qualified car, #5's Joey Severance, advanceed over #4 Kim Parker, but they were separated by only two thousandths in qualifying, so his 5.247 to 5.307 win couldn't be called an upset. Other first round winners were Shawn Cowie and Karen Stalba, with Stalba holding lane choice over Cowie in the semifinals. The other second round race, between Severance and Grisel saw lane choice decided by less than half a mph as both racers clocked identical e.t.'s.

In Funny Car, all the higher qualified cars advanced to the semifinals, with newly crowned national champion Greg Bellemeur advancing on a holeshot win over Chris Marshall despite a 5.644 to 5.593 deficit on the scoreboards. With last year's champion (Doug Gordon) qualifying on the other side of the ladder, and advancing over Nick Januik 5.550 to 5.576, a possible meeting in the final between the two heaviest hitters in the class could be in offing. However, Gordon will have to get past the low e.t. runner of the first round, Terry Ruckman, who advanced with a 5.545 over an ever-improving Hunter Jones. The low qualifier, Annie Whiteley who made three consecutive 5.50 passes in qualifying, slowed to a 5.716 - 211.2 that was enough to stay in front of a late-leaving, and losing, Ray Martin.

2:00 PM UPDATE

The points earning capability ended for Joey Severance as he fell to Casey Grisel in the second round by a 5.325 to 6.270 margin, after Severance was forced to pedal to get his shaking tires under control. That locked him into #9 position in the final standings, tied for the lowest finish he's had in the past eight years. Grisel advanced to his second final of the year (he won in Phoenix in September) to face Karen Stalba. She got past Shawn Cowie in the semifinals when he redlighted - by a bunch (-0.143) - and handed her the easy win. Amazingly, it was Cowie's first redlight in competition since the Texas FallNationals in 2017. Stalba does hold lane choice over Grisel in the final.

In the Funny Car semis, the expected happened as both Greg Bellemeur and Doug Gordon advanced to meet yet again for an event title. Bellemeur took a fairly easy over Annie Whiteley as she was a full tenth of a second behind at the green, despite running within three hundredths (5.544 to 5.511) of Bellemeur. The other pairing saw Terry Ruckman leave first by a few thousandths, but fall off his 5.50 pace and slow to a 5.682 clocking that was no match for Gordon's 5.566 pass. Bellemeur earned lane choice for the finals, but at Las Vegas, it's rarely a factor late in the day, especially at this time of year.

6:00 PM UPDATE

The dragster final was over almost before it began as Karen Stalba developed a massive fuel leak at the end of the burnout and was shut off. Beneficiary of her dilemna, Casey Grisel happily soloed for his second regional event win of the season, laying down a very good 5.309 - 273.88 for the win. On the Funny Car side, it was another incredibly tight contest between the two best blown alcohol funny cars in the country. They left with almost identical reaction times, favouring Bellemeur over Gordon by ONE thousandth of a second and at the other end it was Sean Bellemeur taking the winlight with a THREE thousandths quicker e.t. over the oh-so-close effort of Doug Gordon. The total win margin was just .004 second, or less than two feet. An incredible finish to another great race between those two fierce competitors and good friends. Next stop for both teams: Pomona and the Auto Club NHRA Finals.


The latest update as of November 5, 2021


After posting the updated Countdown to the Championship points for the PRO cars, it's time to put up the Top Ten standings for Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car. With one regional event, at Las Vegas this coming weekend, and one national event, at Pomona next weekend, left on the schedule it's not likely there will be any significant changes in the final points standings.

With both championships already awarded to Rachel Meyer and Sean Bellemeur, the only possible moves would be for Joey Severance to move up from his current #9 position to move into a tie with Jasmine Salinas for the #6 spot on the table in Dragster, and for Brian Hough to jump from #6 to #3 in the final Funny Car standings. Nick Januik could, with a good finish at Pomona, move into the #5 or #6 position in the final tally.

Fields with a yellow background indicate races that have been entered by the respective competitors.


Top Alcohol Dragster Top Ten standings as of November 1, 2021

As can be by the yellow highlights next to Shawn Cowie (for the Auto Club NHRA Finals) and Joey Severance for the West Regional at Las Vegas, they are the only two racers that can still gain points this season. Cowie can't move up from his #3 position, but Severance could, with an event win at Las Vegas, pass Duane Shields and Matthew Cummings and move into a tie with Jasmine Salinas for the #6 spot in the final standings. We're not sure how tiebreakers are decided in the Lucas Oil Series, but it may not come into play.

Top Alcohol Funny Car Top Ten standings as of November 1, 2021

Even though the national championship has gone to Sean Bellemeur, he can increase his point totals with a final round finish (winner or runnerup) at Pomona, while #2 Doug Gordon has run out of points earning capability. Lower down in the standings, Brian Hough has two chances to increase his totals (Las Vegas regional and Pomona national) and with back-to-back wins - not out of the realm of possibility - could overtake three racers to finish in the #3 position. One spot behind Hough is Nick Januik who could pass Hough (if Hough fails to gain any points) and Kris Hool to finish in the #5 spot if he can take the Auto Club Finals event title at Pomona.


The latest update as of November 4, 2021


We're still working on filling in all the captions to go with the photos from the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals of last weekend. We'll keep working on it over the next few days and take a bit of a breather before the final event of the season starts at Pomona's Auto Club Raceway next Friday. This morning we're posting the latest points standings in the PRO classes in a format that shows how they've fared going into and during the countdown.

Note that the numbers with dark red backgrounds indicate racers that have been mathematically eliminated from championship contention, and light red backgrounds indicate those that will most likely be eliminated after the first qualifying session in Pomona. The maximum number of points that can be earned at the Auto Club NHRA Finals is 187. The breakdown is 10 points for making at least one qualifying attempt, up to 12 points for setting low e.t. of each qualifying session (3 sessions x 4 points each), 10 points for #1 qualifier, 30 points for qualifying, then 30 more points for each round win for a total of 187 possible.


Top Fuel Points Standings November 1, 2021

Going into the final race, Steve Torrence has a very strong 105 point lead over his closest pursuer, Brittany Force. On the virtual "bubble" is Mike Salinas, who, despite a late season charge which includes three final rounds in the last four races, will almost certainly be eliminated after the first qualifying session at Pomona. Below Salinas, everyone is already mathematically out of the chase.

Force has her work cut out for her, as even if she takes #1 qualifying spot, and sets low e.t. of all three qualifying sessions, can only gain a maximum of 19 points during qualifying on Torrence, and that's if he finishes qualifying in the bottom quarter of the field (#13 to #16). That would still leave her 86 points behind going into the first round, and would require Torrence to lose no later than the 2nd round of eliminations, and for Force to take the event win. Considering the Capco team's run of success, with three consecutive championships, that's a mighty tall order.


Funny Car Points Standings November 1, 2021

The situation in Funny Car is very different, as no less than four racers still have a chance for the championship. Below them are three more that will be mathematicaly eliminated before qualifying concludes. Leading that "heading for the exit" group are John Force, sitting 155 points behind leader Ron Capps. Below Force are Bob Tasca III (168 points behind), and Robert Hight (173 points behind). Once Capps makes a qualifying attempt, Hight will be gone, then if he qualifies (a VERY distinct possibility), both Tasca and Force will be out.

The racers still very much in the chase are led by Capps' closest challenger, and defending champion, Matt Hagan, who has fallen 58 points behind after consecutive first round losses at Bristol and Las Vegas. He can close the gap to just under 40 points during qualifying (see the Brittany Force scenario above), and that would leave him less than two round wins behind Capps. The eliminations ladder could be very critical for Capps and Hagan, as the earlier they meet, the better for Hagan. However, an early round exit for Capps could spell doom for his title hopes.

Directly below Hagan in the standings sits the success story of the 2021 Funny Car season, as Cruz Pedregon is having his best season since 2011, aided greatly by the acquisition of Tommy Johnson Jr.'s crew when his team was disbanded at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Pedregon's win in the latest event at Las Vegas has put him within 83 points of Capps, and in reach of the championship for the first time since 2008. The last racer with a chance to Capps is J.R. Todd who has been hot and cold during the countdown portion of the season, reaching a low ebb with a first round loss at Las Vegas. He's 138 points out of first and is a longshot - at best - to take the title, but over the years we've seen stranger things happen.


Pro Stock Points Standings November 1, 2021


Pro Stock Motorcycle Points Standings November 1, 2021


The latest update as of November 3, 2021


All the photos from the DODGE//SRT Nationals are now posted but the captions will take a while to complete. Keep refreshing/reloading this page as we will be adding text throughout the next few days as we wrap up our coverage from the second to last event on the 2021 Camping World Drag Racing Series. Later today we'll post the graphics detailing the Countdown to the Championship contenders (and those already eliminated from contention) as the racers prepare for Pomona.


The latest update as of November 1, 2021


Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals logo

The Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals concluded under sunny skies at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway yesterday afternoon. The Lucas Oil National Champions were crowned in the Top Alcohol (Dragster & Funny Car) classes, while all four of the professional categories will decide their world champions at the season-ending event, the Auto Club NHRA Finals in two weeks. Our hard working photographer, Bob Snyder has provided us with a cornucopia of photos from Las Vegas and we're trying to get them posted as soon as we can. The Sunday photos just arrived so we'll start today's posting with the first round of eliminations in the Factory Stock Showdown, then into Pro Mod, and the "Kings of the Sport" (Top Fuel). It's been a while since you've read that phrase, eh?


FACTORY STOCK SHOWDOWN - Eliminations Round One


Before the PRO driver introductions and the first round of eliminations for them, the Factory Stock Showdown qualifiers started the day's proceedings. After three qualifying sessions, the 21 entries were whittle down to the quickest 16 for eliminations, with the bump spot ending up at 8.049. The top eight cars went into the 7-second zone, and low qualifier Joseph Welch took the top rung on the ladder at 7.873 - 176.70. There's still a battle for parity in the class, as just four (of the six entered) Mopars made the field, but three of the top five were in Dodge Challeners, to show that there's a resurgence from that marque.

The fortunes of the Ford contingent continued to decline, as just one of the two "Blue Oval" Mustangs entered qualified, but that lone entry took the #3 spot on the ladder. The balance of the field were Camaros, with 11 of the 13 entered qualfiying. Their top dog was defending national champion Aaron Stanfield in the #2 spot on the qualifying sheet. Stanfield had clinched the season championship for the second time, running away with the title with three straight victories (including later in the day at Las Vegas) to win by 284 points over second place finisher David Barton, who won the first FSS championship in 2017, but has finished in second place in 2020 and this year.

Anthony Troyer (near lane) vs 
Jesse Alexandra (far lane) - FSS --- Doug Hamp (near lane) vs 
Joseph Welch (far lane) - FSS

(LEFT) The first pair out of the staging lanes were two Camaros and Jesse Alexandra (far lane) took the win with a quicker leave and a slighty better e.t. of 7.946 - 173.01 over the not quite enough 7.974 - 171.42 from the near lane's Anthony Troyer.

(RIGHT) Following up his low qualifying effort, Joseph Welch, (far lane) almost equalled it with a 7.877 at a new top speed of the meet 177.74 to overcome Doug Hamp's (near lane) four hundredths holeshot and 7.964 - 171.71 pass.

Ryan Priddy (near lane) vs 
Leah Pruett (far lane) - FSS --- Jason Dietsch (near lane) vs 
David Davies II (far lane) - FSS

(LEFT) Another far lane winner came in the next match, as Leah Pruett left first and improved on her qualifying numbers with a very good 7.932 - 174.77 to easily outdistance the early shutoff 10.179 - 92.86 of Ryan Priddy in the near lane.

(RIGHT) The lone Ford entry in the field, driven by Jason Dietsch, (far lane) laid down a very competitive 7.913 - 176.81 to overcome a small holeshot by David Davies II (near lane), who kept it close with a losing 8.015 - 174.39 clocking.

John Cerbone (near lane) vs 
Mark Pawuk (far lane) - FSS --- Dan Condon (near lane) vs 
Aaron Stanfield (far lane) - FSS

(LEFT) A "double" redlight came up in the next pair, as John Cerbone (near lane) left first with a -.205 reaction, even though it appears that Mark Pawuk (far lane) is the first to leave even though his -.098 leave was not the first infraction. Pawuk's winning time was 7.944 - 175.00, while Cerbone's was 8.436 - 169.64. We're not sure how it all went down but the photo doesn't seem to support the reaction times and elapsed times.

(RIGHT) Leaving first but finishing second was Dan Condon in the near lane, as his slight holeshot and 7.995 - 170.95 wasn't enough to hold off the far lane's Aaron Stanfield and his solid 7.900 - 173.16 timeslip.

David Barton (near lane) vs 
Scott Libersher (far lane) - FSS

The round was closed by a pair of Camaros battling, with David Barton (near lane) taking the win at both ends, leaving first by a few hundredths, then running 7.938 - 171.95 to cover Scott Libersher's good try 7.980 - 174.93 in the far lane.

It was quite a competitive round with 13 of the 16 cars running in the 7's, one in 8.0's, one in the 8.4's and only one car not making a full run (10.179 - 92.86). However, going into the quarterfinals, only top half qualifiers advanced, with lane choice in the second round going to the top four cars. So, while the gaps between the competitors were small, they were still evident as eliminations progressed.


PRO MOD - Eliminations Round One


Like their less powerful, heavier, and much slower brethren in Factory Stock, the Pro Mods finished their season at Las Vegas. Unlike in previous seasons, this year's champion, Jose Gonzalez clinched the title at the previous race in Dallas. Falling short in his quest for three consecutive championships was fan favourite Stevie "Fast' Jackson, who slipped to third place due to three first round exits in the final four races. Parity was closer than in past seasons, with all four power adders: turbo, nitrous, rootes blown, and centrifugal blown combinations all being relatively competitive.

The one worrying aspect for the class was a decline in participation as less than full fields became commonplace, evidenced by just 11 entries appearing at Las Vegas, and 14 in Bristol of all places, once a true hotbed for the outlaw cars that evolved into Pro Mod. In fairness, there were full fields at Charlotte and Indy, but on the other hand, just nine cars attended the mile-high race in Denver.


J.R. Gray - 'Gray Contracting' (near 
lane) vs Khalid alBalooshi - 'Bahrain 1' (far lane) - PM --- Stevie Jackson - 'Bahrain 1' (near 
lane) vs Dimtry Samorukov (far lane) - PM

(LEFT) Eliminations kicked off with a holeshot win for rookie Pro Mod driver J.R. Gray (near lane) as he left by nearly six hundredths on Khalid alBalooshi (far lane), then held on for the win by a close 5.800 - 247.38 to a quicker but later 5.787 - 248.16 for the veteran racer.

(RIGHT) The next pair saw the upset of the year as completely unheralded newcomer to NHRA racing, from Russia, Dmitry Samorukov, (far lane) came from behind to catch up to a broken Stevie Jackson (near lane). Jackson left first by a small margin and was leading until the engine died at half track, allowing Samorukov to take the win with a career best 6.146 - 233.16 (after qualifying at 6.251 - 232.47). Jackson coasted across with a 6.604 - 158.30 as his season ended.

Mike Castellana - 'AAP' - PM --- Brandon Snider - 'J&A Services' (near 
lane) vs Jim Whiteley - 'J&A Services' (far lane) - PM

(LEFT) The low qualifier, at 5.793 - 245.18 from New York, Mike Castellana, came out next and took his bye run due to the 11-car field. Mike showed everyone that he meant business, improving his low e.t. mark to a 5.773 - 247.97 to advance to the second round and lane choice over J.R. Gray.

(RIGHT) Two J&A Services team-mates were the next pair and team owner Jim Whiteley (far lane) lost at both ends of the track, leaving second and seeing his very good 5.846 - 244.60 eclipsed by Brandon Snider's (near lane) winning 5.798 - 247.20 as the parade of 5.70 passes continued.

Doug Winters - 'Stinar' (near lane) 
vs Mike Salinas - 'Scrappers Racing' (far lane) - PM --- Lyle Barnett - 'Elite Performance' 
(near lane) vs Justin Bond - 'Bahrain 1' (far lane) - PM

(LEFT) Jumping out of his Top Fuel car (for a few minutes) and into his Pro Mod was Mike Salinas (far lane) who cut a tremendous light (.014 reaction) and used his 5.789 - 246.98 to send the unique Chevelle-bodied entry of Doug Winters (near lane) back to the trailer despite a competitive 5.849 - 243.19 pass for Winters.

(RIGHT) Giving away his last chance to hang on to second place in the points standings was Canadian (Mission, BC) Justin Bond (far lane) who redlighted by just two thousandths and threw away a so-so 6.060 - 237.42, as underdog Lyle Barnett (near lane) joined the "70 Club" with a great 5.798 e.t. coupled with a booming top end charge of 253.71 to set top speed of the meet. Barnett was the only driver to hit the 250 mph mark in qualifying and continued to do so right through eliminations with four consecutive 253 mph runs enroute to his second event win of the season.


Pre-Race Ceremonies


pre-race Track Walk --- (left to right) Brittany Force, 
Alexis DeJoria, Joe Costello

Following the obligatory track walk, which was in hiatus for more than a year due to you-know-what, the fans took the opportunity to walk down half of the four wide Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on the left, while on the right, announcer Joe Costello got to hang out with the two low qualifiers, Brittany Force on the left, and Alexis DeJoria on the right.


Dylan Cromwell Memorial

Before the nitro eliminations started, there was a heartfelt tribute in memory of one of Jim Head and Blake Alexander's crewman, a 23-year young member of the team who tragically passed in a highway crash while driving the team's transporter enroute to the event. He was the innocent victim of an out-of-control truck coming from the other direction and in an instant, his life was ended. Everyone in the drag racing community: fans, racers, officials were all shocked and deeply saddened by his death.


TOP FUEL - Eliminations Round One


Going into the first round, season-long points leader Steve Torrence had seen his 73-point lead shrink by eight points during qualifying, but he still held a comfortable margin over closest pursuer Brittany Force as she notched her 12th low qualifier award of the season, and had the quickest car going into eliminations. The 3rd (Justin Ashley) and 4th (Mike Salinas) place drivers in the standings were already on very thin ice as their championship hopes were fading quickly, while everyone below them was already mathematically eliminated from contention.

Despite her dominance in qualifying, Force had only advanced to one final round in the first five races of the countdown, losing to Josh Hart in that event, while Torrence had been in three straight finals, including one win, leading up to Las Vegas. Looking at his 2021 season record, Steve Torrence's nine wins and three runnerups made Force's one win and four runnerups look rather pale by comparison. Race day consistency and reaction times have been the key to Torrence's success and likewise, the key to Brittany's relative lack of success. Could today be the event where she and her crew could rise to the occasion and close the points gap enough to have a chance for the championship at Pomona?


Clay Millican - 'Parts Plus' (near 
lane) vs Alex Laughlin - 'Havoline' (far lane) - TF --- Billy Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' 
(near lane) vs Shawn Langdon - 'CMR Roofing' (far lane) - TF

(LEFT) Only two cars advanced from the bottom half of the field and the first one came in the first pair as Clay Millican (near lane) was building a good lead over Alex Laughlin (far lane), courtesy of a much better light and very good early numbers, before the engine came undone late in the run, and he coasted across the line at 3.913 - 247.61. Taking the win, also with an early shutoff, was Laughlin's 3.835 - 290.69 effort.

(RIGHT) "Captain Capco" Billy Torrence (near lane) faced off against Shawn Langdon, wearing new colours in the far lane and took what had to be one of the tightest decisions of the season - by exactly ONE inch. He was nearly half a tenth late off the line but drove around Langdon's holeshot aided 3.781 - 312.21 with a very good 3.738 - 325.53 for the incredibly close win.

Brittany Force - 'Monster Energy' 
(near lane) vs Troy Buff - 'BME' (far lane) - TF --- Justin Ashley - 'Vita-C Shot' (near 
lane) vs Cameron Ferre - 'EMPI' (far lane) - TF

(LEFT) Facing the pressure of having to win rounds or see her championship hopes disappear, Brittany Force (near lane) dropped a bomb on Troy Buff (far lane), pounding out a new low e.t. of the meet with a fantastic 3.670 - 330.80 pass to move into the second round. Buff gave it a good fight, with his best e.t. of the weekend, a 3.914 - 299.60 to show that the Bill Miller team could still compete with the big guns.

(RIGHT) Still in the hunt for the season championship, but just barely, was Justin Ashley (near lane) who needed to win the event to have even a faint hope of catching the points leader. Ashley did his job and laid down a solid 3.734 - 326.71 to easily erase the far lane Cameron Ferre's up-in-smoke 9-second pass. Ferre ran well in qualifying, clocking back-to-back low 3.80's to qualify solidly, but it looks like the Paton team went "over center" in the first round, in trying to make up the performance deficit.

Mike Salinas - 'Scrappers Racing' 
(near lane) vs Doug Kalitta - 'MAC Tools' (far lane) - TF --- Steve Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' 
(near lane) vs Jim Maroney - 'American FlowTech' (far lane) - TF

(LEFT) Another racer feeling the pressure to win today was Mike Salinas (near lane) and he showed the Alan Johnson tuned team was up to the challenge as he took out Doug Kalitta (far lane) in a close race by barely half a car length. Salinas left first by a few thousandths and outran Kalitta's strong 3.735 - 323.43 with a slightly better 3.726 - 323.97 clocking for the win.

(RIGHT) The next pairing had to be considered a possible "walk over" for Steve Torrence (near lane) as he qualified 12 spots ahead of opponent Jim Maroney. Torrence left second, by 15 thousandths, but finished first by a bunch as Maroney ran into trouble at half track and fireballed the engine, slowing to a 4.119 - 227.38 time, while Torrence sped by with a 3.751 - 325.61 for the win.

Josh Hart - 'R+L Carriers' (near lane) 
vs Tripp Tatum - 'TT Racing' (far lane) - TF --- Antron Brown - 'Matco Tools' (near 
lane) vs Leah Pruett - 'Direct Connection' (far lane) - TF

(LEFT) Rookie of The Year contender Josh Hart (near lane) looked to rebound from a first round loss in Bristol, after a win at Charlotte and semifinal finishes at the next two races, but he ran into a very tough competitor in Tripp Tatum (far lane). Running what has been called a "Capco clone", Tatum, in only his third race of the season, picked up a bunch on his good 3.773 qualifying time and put down a 3.711 at a best speed of the round 331.61 to turn on the winlight. Hart fell off a bit from his 3.745 qualifier and trailed with a 3.801 - 323.19 as he fell in the first round for the second race in a row.

(RIGHT) Finishing the round were the usual #8 versus #9 qualifiers, and the #9 car, Leah Pruett (far lane) did so with a solid 3.752 - 318.32 pass over an engine exploding Antron Brown in the near lane, as he pedaled once to try to calm down the tires and it failed - big time - as he blew the engine and slowed to a losing 4.967 - 155.11 timeslip.

In the second round, lane choice goes to Brittany Force over Leah Pruett, Tripp Tatum over Steve Torrence (hmmm....), Justin Ashley over Alex Laughlin, and Mike Salinas over Billy Torrence.


FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round One


A much tighter race for the championship was developing in Funny Car, as coming into the event, Ron Capps was just ONE point in front of defending champion Matt Hagan. Sitting in third place was J.R. Todd, but with an 83-point deficit, his task to climb back into contention was indeed a daunting one. Sitting on the virtual bubble was #4 in the points, John Force and he needed nothing less than an event win to move back within striking distance of the leaders. The tension was running high as the first pair came out from under the BIG "The Strip" sign beside the control tower.


Robert Hight - 'Auto Club' (near 
lane) vs Steven Densham - 'Mid-West' (far lane) - FC --- Alexis Dejoria - 'Bandero Tequila' 
(near lane) vs Jeff Diehl - 'RATT' (far lane) - FC

(LEFT) On paper this should have been a somewhat easy win for Robert Hight (near lane), but his opponent Steven Densham (far lane), a second generation nitro funny car racer, could not be taken lightly. The Densham team had put down back-to-back 4.059 and 4.069 qualifying runs on Saturday and were showing some real consistency going into eliminations. That continued as Densham left first by a few hundredths and put down a very creditable 4.043 - 300.33 pass in what was an ultimately losing cause. Overcoming his starting line disadvantage, Hight took a two car length victory with an excellent 3.930 - 327.27 to send Densham home early.

(RIGHT) The biggest mismatch of the round had to be this next pair, as low qualifier Alexis DeJoria, in the near lane, faced off against off against Jeff "The Surfer" Diehl (far lane). Diehl had qualified with a decent 4.116 pass, and kept pace with DeJoria to the 330' clocks before seeing the writing on the wall, and shutting off to a 4.278 - 220.80 losing pass. DeJoria was a "little" late on the launch (.167 to .127), but got things moving quickly, to the tune of a 3.925 - 324.51 to keep the ball rolling after her win at Bristol.

John Force - 'Peak' (near lane) 
vs Chris Morel - 'Little City Charger' (far lane) - FC --- J.R. Todd - 'DHL' (near lane) vs 
Paul Lee - 'Silver State' (far lane) - FC

(LEFT) Another "no doubt" race in the offing? Not so quick, as (almost) local Chris Morel (far lane), in his supremely retro green metalflake "Little City Charger" from Reno, set jaws a-dropping when the winlight came on in his lane over prohibitive favourite John "Brute" Force. It wasn't a thing of beauty, as both racers ran into trouble, with Force having his earlier, as the engine quit before the 330' timing blocks, while Morel made it to half track before his engine quit. The verdit: Chris Morel: 5.749 - 122.13 and John Force 8.479 - 73.28 as he coasted into elimination from the championship battle.

(RIGHT) Next up was J.R. Todd (near lane) and he faced a nearly do-or-die situation, needing lots of winlights to stay in contention for the title. However, Paul Lee, in the far lane, found the tuneup he'd been missing in qualifying and laid down a big set of numbers at 3.921 - 328.94 to send Todd packing. It nearly came undone on the launch for Lee as his .005 light was waaaay too close to a red bulb. Todd was behind the 8-ball early and when the tires started smoking, that was it for his chances as he coasted to a losing 4.960 - 155.76 to put his championship hopes on the critical list.

Matt Hagan - 'Direct Connection' 
(near lane) vs Chad Green - 'Bond-Coat' (far lane) - FC --- Bob Tasca III - 'Motorcraft' (near 
lane) vs Bobby Bode - 'Ar-Bee' (far lane) - FC

(LEFT) Moving into the major contenders next, Matt Hagan (near lane) in his new "Direct Connection" livery looked to advance over Chad Green in the far lane. Knowing that Green was no slouch, with an ex-Tim Wilkerson car and Dan Wilkerson tuning, Hagan had his work cut out for him, despite holding a tenth and a half e.t. advantage based on qualifying times. Green did his job, cranking out a very respectable 4.009 - 321.12 that was just enough to overcome Hagan's holeshot and turn on the winlight over Hagan's struggling 4.087 - 316.15, courtesy of a dropped cylinder.

That one dropped cylinder might turn out to be just enough to cost Matt Hagan a repeat championship depending on how the event progresses for the other racers battling for the world championship.

(RIGHT) There was less pressure in this next pairing as Bob Tasca III (near lane) was pretty much out of the points chase, but he wanted to finish the season strong for Motorcraft and he spent only 3.950 seconds (with a big speed of 329.58) dispatching young Bobby Bode in the far lane. Bode gave Tasca a race, carding a 4.072 - 310.84 with a car that ran 4.008 on his last qualifying run after two earlier up-in-smoke efforts.

Cruz Pedregon - 'Snap-On' (near lane) 
vs Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' (far lane) - FC --- Ron Capps - 'Pennzoil' (near lane) 
vs Tim Wilkerson - 'Levi, Ray & Shoup' (far lane) - FC

(LEFT) Coming on stronger as the season progressed with his new ex-Tommy Johnson crew, Cruz Pedregon (near lane), continued to move up the points table, ringing up round wins on a regular basis through the countdown with nine rounds won in the first five races. He continued that string here with a solid first round effort at 3.947 - 295.08 that was not lacking in drama as he drifted towards the centerline throughout the run and narrowly missed taking out the finish time timing blocks. He held the car steady and turned on the winlight as opponent Tony Jurado (far lane) fell short with a very good 4.032 - 317.19 clocking.

The story didn't end there as Jurado went through the shutdown, up the hill, and into the sandtrap without any chutes and finally came to a stop, spinning the car sideways in the trap for a dramatic end to what had been a very successful weekend. In qualifying, Jurado followed up his career best 3.986 - 318.17 in the first session with 4.039 - 316.18 and 4.018 - 318.99 timeslips that showed he was rapidly becoming a competitor to be reckoned with.

(RIGHT) The round ended with the obligatory #8 versus #9 matchup and this one certainly wasn't lacking for interest, with points leader Ron Capps having to fight his way through a virtual minefield of tough competition after qualifying in an unaccustomed middle of the pack (#8) position on the ladder. His opposition in this round, Tim Wilkerson, in the far lane, was ready to give Capps everything he could handle, leaving first by .013 and holding the lead for a few hundred feet before Capps took it back and held it to the finish line. Capps ran low e.t. of the round at 3.915 - 323.74 to barely edge out Wilkerson's faster but slower 3.947 - 330.72 run that fell just half a car length short at the stripe.

The win by Capps gave him lane choice over Alexis DeJoria in the second round, while Cruz Pedregon earned his choice over Chris Morel, Paul Lee over Bob Tasca III, and Robert Hight over Chad Green. Obviously the big match of that round had to be Capps vs DeJoria, with Capps looking to open a serious gap over second place Matt Hagan.


TOP ALCOHOL - Eliminations Round Three


Chris Marshall - 'Disturbed Racing' 
(near lane) vs Brian Hough - 'Cascade Motor Coach' (far lane) - TA/FC --- Sean Bellemeur - 'Hussey Performance' 
(near lane) vs Bob McCosh - 'McCosh Chevrolet' (far lane) - TA/FC

(LEFT) Into the semifinals in Top Alcohol, with the Funny Cars up first, the first match was an all-Oregon affair, as Chris Marshall (near lane) took on Brian Hough (far lane). While Marshall had only run two regional and one national events before this race, his opponent, Hough, had been chasing points all over the country this year with the help of two-time former champion Jonnie Lindberg. Marshall qualified near the top of the field with a very strong 5.504 and advanced through the first two rounds with solid runs, while Hough was further back in the #7 spot on the ladder, but showed consistency with a string of 5.5-second passes coming into this round. It was all over on the starting line as Marshall redlighted (-.075) and threw away a very good 5.566 - 264.65 pass, while Hough ran into heavy tire shake and coasted through at 9.754 - 77.88 to move into the final.

(RIGHT The other racer to reach that final round was decided in an incredibly close race between two of the top three racers in the championship battle. Fighting hard to retake the championship from Doug Gordon was Sean Bellemeur in the near lane, as Bob McCosh (far lane) opposed him. The two drivers left nearly together with Bellemeur holding only a six thousandths of a second advantage on the green, and it stayed that way all the way to the 1320' mark. McCosh ran an excellent 5.503 - 267.11 that fell barely a foot short of Bellemeur's fractionally slower 5.506 - 265.80 for a true win margin of just three thousandths of a second.

With the win, Bellemeur moved into a tie with Gordon for the national championship, and lane choice in the final against Brian Hough. With one more event left (Pomona) to improve his points total, even if Bellemeur fell to Hough in the final here, he would only have to advance to the final round at Pomona to take his third Top Alcohol Funny Car championship in the last four years.

Kim Parker - 'Carstar' (near lane) 
vs Rachel Meyer - 'NTK' (far lane) - A/FD --- Julie Nataas - 'OTG' (near lane) 
vs Jackie Fricke - 'Finke Equipment' (far lane) - A/FD

(LEFT) With her points earning capabilities already exhausted, all Rachel Meyer (far lane) could do is stop her challenger, Jackie Fricke, in the final round to take her first national championship. However, to do that, she had to get past Kim Parker in the near lane, and that wasn't going to be an easy task. Parker had qualified strongly in the #4 spot in the field with a very good 5.249 - 265.17 and improved those numbers to 5.222 - 271.73 in the second round to set up the match, and hold lane choice against Meyer. Rachel left first by a few hundredths and took command early as Parker was only running on seven cylinders. The final verdict was Meyer with a 5.265 - 280.95 for the win and Parker with a 5.448 - 261.93 in a losing effort.

(RIGHT The other half of the all-female semifinal saw championship challenger Jackie Fricke (far lane) having to win to keep her hopes of a championship alive. She faced a formidable task in ftaking on the other Meyer Racing entry, of Julie Nataas, in the near lane, but was up to the task with a 5.234 - 268.97 to overcome Nataas' holeshot and solid 5.302 - 275.71 pass that left Nataas barely half a car length short at the finish line. Fricke's better e.t. also earned her lane choice in the winner-take-all final round. An incredible finish to the championship chase was in the offing with intense pressure on both teams.


TOP FUEL - Eliminations Round Two


Justin Ashley - 'Vita-C Shot' 
(near lane) vs Alex Laughlin - 'Havoline' (far lane) - TF --- Brittany Force - 'Monster Energy' 
(near lane) vs Leah Pruett - 'Direct Connection' (far lane) - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Salinas - 'Scrappers Racing' 
(near lane) vs Billy Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' (far lane) - TF --- Steve Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' 
(near lane) vs Tripp Tatum - 'TT Racing' (far lane) - TF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round Two


Robert Hight - 'Auto Club' (near lane) 
vs Chad Green - 'Bond-Coat' (far lane) - FC --- Bob Tasca - 'Motorcraft' (near lane) 
vs Paul Lee - 'Silver State' (far lane) - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ron Capps - 'Pennzoil' (near lane) 
vs Alexis DeJoria - 'Bandero Tequila' (far lane) - FC --- Cruz Pedregon - 'Snap-On' (near lane) 
vs Chris Morel - 'Little City Charger' (far lane) - FC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


The latest update as of October 31, 2021


Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals logo

NOON Update

After a first round of Top Fuel that saw the top six racers in the Championship Countdown advance to the second round, things got wacky... with a capital W-A-C-K-Y in the first round of Funny Car. It started with John Force losing to "Little City Charger" driver Chris Morel. Up until that point, the first two pairs saw the expected winners as Robert Hight and Alexis Dejoria advanced, before things started going off the rails.

The next pair saw J.R. Todd, #3 in the points and fighting for the championship lose traction at mid-track and could only watch Paul Lee streak to the win. Not expected, but not nearly as huge an upset as Morel taking out John Force. Then things got strange quickly as Chad Green took out the points leader - or co-points leader - Matt Hagan with yet another upset. Again, like with Paul Lee, Mr. Green was certainly not "cannon fodder", driving the de-facto Wilkerson team #2 car and receiving tuning help from Daniel (& Tim) Wilkerson. The next pair saw rookie nitro racer Tony Jurado give Cruz Pedregon a good challenge before losing, then ending up in the sand trap when the chutes failed.

Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' - FC

Picture copyright by NHRA.tv

It's certainly not the way he wanted to end his weekend, but nitro rookie Tony Jurado, in just his fourth 'Big Show' race gave his opponent Cruz Pedregon a real battle before losing by a 3.947 - 295.08 to 4.032 - 317.19 margin. Pedregon nearly gave the victory to Jurado as he just barely missed the finish line blocks before he was able to wrestle the car back into the center of the lane in the shutdown. Jurado kept the throttle open to the finish line, but the parachutes failed to open and he went up the hill and into the sand trap at the end. It doesn't look the car was badly damaged, but it's going to need a thorough cleaning before he finishes the season in Pomona in two weeks.

1:30 PM Update

They've just finished running the semifinals in Top Alcohol, and while neither of the National Championships were decided, there's a very good chance that at least one of them will be determined later this afternoon. In Funny Car, after Doug Gordon surprisingly (amazingly?) lost in yesterday's first round eliminations, Sean Bellemeur took advantage of his early departure and won his semifinal race over Bob McCosh - by a very narrow margin (.009 second) - and advanced to the final round against Brian Hough.

The semifinal win put Bellemeur into a tie with Gordon for the points lead, both at 776 points, but he can take the championship for the third time if he can get past Hough in the final round. However, even if he loses he can still take the championship by making it to the final round at Pomona. At the moment, Bellemeur and Gordon are tied in points, but Gordon has five national event wins to Bellemeur's four, and if that is the first tie-breaker, then the title would remain with Gordon unless Bellemeur can make the final at Pomona and gain the points needed to take the championship outright.

In Top Alcohol Dragster the situation is much more clearcut with points leader Rachel Meyer and her pursuer, Jackie Fricke, as both advanced to the final round later this afternoon. Meyer leads Fricke by 20 points, BUT Fricke can earn 21 points if she can get past Meyer in the final. Do the math and the Lucas Oil championship would go to Jackie Fricke by ONE point. The pressure on both drivers and teams going into that final round will certainly be immense. Stay tuned!

2:30 PM Update

We've just finished the second of Top Fuel & Funny Car eliminations and the championships in both classes are coming into sharper focus. In Top Fuel, there's only four drivers left in the Countdown with a chance to win the season championship. All four advanced into the semifinals today, with Brittany Force clocking the slowest winning time of the round at 3.745. The pairings in the semis are Brittany Force versus Mike Salinas (with Salinas holding lane choice), and Steve Torrence having his choice versus Justin Ashley - by just .003 second. If Salinas or Ashley lose in that round, then their championship aspirations are over for 2021.

Over in Funny Car, the championship window is still open for seven racers, with the four semifinalists all in that group. Ron Capps re-took the points lead with his first round win, and Matt Hagan's loss, before extending the lead to 38 points with his second round win. Making a move up the ladder from #4 to #3 was Cruz Pedregon as he continued his late season charge, and he's now 103 points behind Capps, after passing J.R. Todd. Rounding out the semifinalists are #6 Bob Tasca III and #7 Robert Hight. Similar to the situation in Top Fuel, if Tasca or Hight fail to advance to the final round, they will be eliminated from the championship chase. And if Capps wins today he will almost mathematically eliminate John Force and Todd from the countdown chase.


We're still posting photos from yesterday, but the captions will have to wait until tomorrow. Today's photos will be posted and captioned by Tuesday evening. "Unfortunately" the weather outside is just too darn nice today to stay at the computer all afternoon working on the event coverage.

The view from the rooftop deck at my home in Spirit Bay

This is the view this afternoon from the rooftop deck at my home near Victoria, BC (Canada). The house is named the "Cliff House" as it's built into the side of a cliff at Beecher Bay in a neighbourhood known as Sunset Point. A truly magical place to live, but not too remote to follow the sport we all love: DRAG RACING.

4:00 PM Update

The points picture in Top Fuel got clearer as Steve Torrence advanced to his umpeenth final round and opened up an 85-point lead on his closest challenger, Brittany Force as she fell on a holeshot to Mike Salinas. With that win, Salinas moved into third place in the standings, passing Justin Ashley, who fell to Torrence and saw his title hopes take a big hit. While he still has a mathematical chance, sitting 168 points behind Torrence, he would have to run the table at Pomona and have Torrence fail to qualify... which has never happened during his Top Fuel career.

In Funny Car, the points leader Ron Capps stretched the gap over second place Matt Hagan, and now sits 58 points in front of the "Hulk", and if he wins today's event, will make it a 78 point lead. Capps' win over Robert Hight in the semis eliminated Hight from the championship chase, and Bob Tasca III's loss to Cruz Pedregon dropped him from contention. With his semifinal win Pedregon kept within striking distance of Capps no matter what happens in the final today. It's been quite a season for Pedregon's Snap-On team as they've moved from struggling to make the Top Ten to being a championship contender for the first time in quite a few years.

In the Top Alcohol finals, the "Killer B's" prevailed over Brian Hough in the final round, and took the Lucas Oil National championship away from defending champion Doug Gordon who suffered his most untimely loss ever with a first round departure yesterday. With the win, Bellemeur earned his third championship, all in the last four years. A great job by both teams, and a very well deserved victory for Bellemeur over a more than worthy opponent.

The dragster final featured two A/Fuel cars, two female drivers, and one race for the national championship. Saving the best for last was this year's national champion, Rachel Meyer as he blasted out low e.t. of the meet at 5.191, coupled with a 281.01 mph speed to crush Jackie Fricke's close, but not nearly close enough 5.260 - 270.16 as the gap at the finish line was little more than a car length. The championship marked the fourth year running that the Meyer team has taken home the big trophy at the end of the season. Again, a well deserved win over a more than worthy opponent who fought to the very end and came oh-so-close to breaking up the Meyer monopoly on the class.


TOP FUEL - Final Qualifying Session - Saturday


Steve Chrisman - 'Worsham Racing' - TF --- Rob Passey - 'Seven23 Enterprises' - TF

Brandon Welch - 'Max Mileage' - TF --- Buddy Hull - 'Circle Racing' - TF

Jim Maroney - 'American Flow-Tech' - TF --- Billy Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' - TF

Josh Hart - 'R+L Carriers' - TF --- Shawn Langdon - 'CMR Roofing' - TF

Steve Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' - TF --- Antron Brown - 'Matco Tools' - TF

Justin Ashley - 'Vita-C Shot' - TF


FUNNY CAR - Final Qualifying Session - Saturday


Bobby Bode - 'Ar-Bee' - FC --- Terry Haddock - 'Circle Racing' - FC

Chad Green - 'Bond-Coat' - FC --- Robert Hight - 'AAA Auto Club' - FC

Chris Morel - 'Little City Charger' - FC --- Steven Densham - 'Mid-West' - FC

Cruz Pedregon - 'Snap-On' - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - 'Levi, Ray & Shoup' - FC

John Force - 'Peak' - FC --- Ron Capps - 'Pennzoil - Napa' - FC

J.R. Todd - 'DHL' - FC --- Alexis DeJoria - 'Bandero Tequila' - FC


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - Eliminations Round Two


Kim Parker - 'Carstar' - A/FD --- Jackie Fricke - 'Finke Equipment' - A/FD

Julie Nataas - 'OTG' - A/FD --- Rachel Meyer - 'NTK' - A/FD


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round Two


Chris Marshall - 'Disturbed Racing' - TA/FC --- Bob McCosh - 'McCosh Chevrolet' - TA/FC

Sean Bellemeur - 'Hussey Performance' - TA/FC --- Hunter Jones - 'Southwest' - TA/FC

Chris Marshall BUG in Halloween costume


The latest update as of October 30, 2021


Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals logo

We've got a huge batch of photos from yesterday's first qualifying session at Las Vegas. Here's the first few pics, featuring the top qualifiers in the PRO and PRO Sportsman categories. We've got much more to post but it's going to be tomorrow before we can get caught up. In the meantime, enjoy these "appetizers".

Greg Anderson - 'Hendricks Cars' -PRO --- Kyle Koretsky - 'Lucas Oil' - PRO

(LEFT) The Pro Stock points leader, Greg Anderson laid down a hard burnout before his qualifying pass, but his 6.670 - 205.32 wasn't quite good enough to take the #1 position - as he has done so often this season.

(RIGHT) Holding down the top spot on the ladder with an earlier pass was one of the "young guns" in the class, Kyle 'Kid Kaos' Koretsky as he carded the quickest e.t. of the session, with a 6.667 - 205.10 coming up on the scoreboards.

Alexis DeJoria - 'Bandero Tequila' - FC --- John Force - 'Peak' - FC

(LEFT) After a slow start to the season and some indifferent results in the first four races of the countdown (three 1st round losses and one semifinal), the "Bandero Tequila" team of Alexis DeJoria and Del Worsham picked up the pace with a win at the last race on the tour (Dallas) and set the early pace here with a 3.889 - 327.03 to hold the #1 spot going into Saturday's final two qualifying sessions.

(RIGHT) Still hanging in there in the championship hunt, only 101 points behind leader Ron Capps, is the 'ol' truck driver' John Force, wearing a throwback logo to his early days in Funny Car with a "Brute Force" decal on the car. He joined the 3-second gang with a second best of the session 3.902 - 328.54, showing he was ready to rumble.

Brittany Force - 'Monster Energy' - TF --- Brittany Force - 'Monster Energy' - TF

Any guesses as to who's the low qualifier in Top Fuel? Of course it's Brittany Force as crew chief David Grubnic tuned her to another "Monster" run, as she cranked out another #1 at 3.693, coupled with a huge speed of 330.41 mph to take the provisional pole for the umpteenth time in 2021.

Chris Marshall - 'Disturbed Racing' - TA/FC --- Doug Gordon - 'Beta Cycles' TA/FC

(LEFT) Seldom seen on the NHRA scene this year is Oregon's Chris Marshall, but he made his presence known at The Strip in a real hurry - like in 5.504 seconds at 265.01 mph. This was only his fourth NHRA race of 2021, following two regional races - both wins - and a semifinal finish at the U.S. Nationals. Like he has for the past few seasons, he's a real threat to the full-time competitors.

(RIGHT) Speaking of competitors, here's the Top Alcohol Funny Car points leader, Doug Gordon who staked his claim for a final round finish this weekend by opening his race with a very solid 5.541 - 265.17 to slot into the #3 position. However, lurking just one spot behind him on the ladder is the only racer with a chance to overtake him for the national championship is Greg Bellemeur of the 'Killer B's' team.

Kim Parker - 'Carstar' - A/FD --- Mike Coughlin - 'McPhillips Racing' - A/FD

(LEFT) No, it's not Matt Cummings or Rich McPhillips (Jr. or Sr.) in the seat, but in the latest driver swap for the McPhillips team, Mike Coughlin made his national event debut in A/Fuel Dragster. He made quite an impression too, clocking 5.240 - 271.95 to take the top rung on the ladder going into Saturday's final qualifying session.

(RIGHT) Finally getting the bugs out of the car after nearly two years of running in the 5.30's and slower, Kim Parker pushed the "CarStar" entry to a #4 qualifying 5.305 - 266.126. It wasn't everything they wanted, but definitely a step in the right direction for a team that ran as quick as 5.153 three years ago.


Here's all the pictures from Friday's qualifying, starting with a couple of miscellaneous pics then going straight into Top Alcohol qualifying.


1400 HP Mustang --- 200 MPH Electric Dragster


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1


Steve Gasparelli - TA/FC --- Don Hudson - 'DHM' - TA/FC

Ray Martin - 'IVAT' - TA/FC --- Mike Doushgounian - 'Pro-Cal' - TA/FC

Terry Ruckman - 'Ruckman Bros.' - TA/FC --- Annie Whiteley - 'J&A Services' - TA/FC

Nick Januik - 'Plan B' - TA/FC --- Bob McCosh - TA/FC

Doug Gordon - 'Beta Cycles' - TA/FC --- Doug Gordon - 'Beta Cycles' - TA/FC

Chris Marshall & BUG - TA/FC


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - Qualifying Session #1


Ron Anderson - 'Dr. Lip Bang' - A/FD --- Mike Austin - 'LAD Automotive' - B/AD

Kim Parker - 'Carstar' - A/FD --- Casey Grisel - 'Darien & Grisel' - A/FD

Joey Severance - 'J&A Services' - B/AD --- Shawn Cowie - 'Mundie's Towing' - B/AD


PRO MOD - Qualifying Session #1


Dimitry Samorukov - PM --- Jim Whiteley - 'J&A Services' - PM

Mike Salinas - 'Scrappers Racing' - PM --- Lyle Barnett - 'Elite Performance' - PM

Khalid alBalooshi - 'Bahrain 1' - PM --- Mike Castellana - 'AAP' - PM

Doug Winters - 'Stinar' - PM --- J.R. Gray - 'Gray Contracting' - PM

Justin Bond - 'Bahrain 1' - PM --- Brandon Snider - 'J&A Services' - PM


PRO STOCK QUALIFYING - Session #1


Martin Robertson - 'Elite HP' - PS --- Alan Prusiensky - 'eCarMover' - PS

Richie Stevens Jr. - 'Vita-C Shot' - PS --- Cristian Cuadra - 'Corral' - PS

Deric Kramer - 'Get BioFuel' - PS --- Troy Coughlin Jr. - 'Jegs' - PS

Mason McGaha - 'Harlow Sammons Racing' - PS --- Chris McGaha - 'Harlow Sammons Racing' - PS

Kyle Koretsky - 'Lucas Oil' - PS --- Erica Enders - 'Elite Performance' - PS

Greg Anderson - 'Hendrick Cars' - PS


FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING - Session One


Steven Densham - 'MidWest' - FC --- Chris Morel - 'Litle City Charger' - FC

Tony Jurado - 'Pure Crop 1' - FC --- Tony Jurado - 'Pure Crop 1' - FC

Jeff Diehl - 'RATT' - FC --- Bobby Bode - 'Ar-Bee' - FC

Terry Haddock - 'Circle Racing Wheels - FC --- Terry Haddock - 'Circle Racing Wheels - FC

Chad Green - 'Bond-Coat' - FC --- Tim Wilkerson - 'Levi, Ray & Shoup' - FC

Jim Campbell - 'KGC Construction' - FC --- Robert Hight - 'Auto Club' - FC

Alexis DeJoria - 'Bandero Tequila' - FC --- Alexis DeJoria - 'Bandero Tequila' - FC

Bob Tasca III - 'Motorcraft' - FC --- Cruz Pedregon - 'Snap-On' - FC

John Force - 'Peak' - FC --- John Force - 'Peak' - FC

Matt Hagan - 'Direct Connection' - FC --- Matt Hagan - 'Direct Connection' - FC

Ron Capps - 'Pennzoil' - FC


TOP FUEL QUALIFYING - Session One


Brandon Welch - 'Max Mileage' - TF --- Rob Passey - 'Seven23 Entrprises' - TF

Troy Buff - 'BME' - TF --- Cameron Ferre - 'EMPI' - TF

Alex Laughlin - 'Havoline' - TF --- Tripp Tatum - 'TT Racing' - TF

Josh Hart - 'R+L Carriers' - TF --- Shawn Langdon - 'CMR Roofing' - TF

Doug Kalitta - 'MAC Tools' - TF --- Antron Brown - 'Matco Tools' - TF

Leah Pruett - 'Direct Connection' - TF --- Billy Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' - TF

Justin Ashley - 'Vita-C Shot' - TF --- Mike Salinas - 'Scarppers Racing' - TF

Steve Torrence - 'Capco Contractors' - TF --- Brittany Force - 'Monster Energy' - TF

Brittany Force - 'Monster Energy' - TF --- Brittany Force - 'Monster Energy' - TF


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session Two


Ray Martin - 'Ivat Coatings' - TA/FC --- Jake Guadagnolo - 'M7 Performance' - TA/FC

Mike Doushgounian - TA/FC --- Terry Ruckman - 'Ruckman Brothers' - TA/FC

Steve Macklyn - 'B&J Transmissions' - TA/FC --- Kris Hool - 'C-Tech Manufacturing' - TA/FC

Greg Bellemeur - 'Hussey Performance' - TA/FC --- Shane Westerfield - 'Rick Jackson Motorsports' - 
TA/FC

--- Chris Marshall BUG --- Chris Marshall - 'Disturbed Racing' - TA/FC


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - Qualifying Session Two


Gord Gingles - 'Doucette Racing' - A/FD --- Chris Demke - 'Penn-Rite' - B/AD

Mike Quayle - A/FD --- Mike Burns - 'Let's Roll Racing' - A/FD

Jackie Fricke - 'Finke Equipment' - A/FD --- Casey Grisel - 'Darien & Grisel' - A/FD

Duane Shields - 'Muscle Milk' - A/FD --- Kim Parker - 'Carstar' - A/FD

Julie Nataas - 'OTG' - A/FD --- Shawn Cowie - 'Mundie's Towing' - B/AD

Mike Coughlin - 'McPhillips Racing' - A/FD


'Muy Caliente Racing' Jet Dragster


The latest update as of October 29, 2021


Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals logo

Yes, we're on to the next event already, as the 21st annual Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals started an hour ago at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's going to be three days of high-stakes racing action, with a number of world and national championships on the line. Plus, of course, the event titles in 18 separate categories. It's the second to last race on the Camping World NHRA schedule for 2021 and after this week, it's just one more regional (next weekend in Las Vegas) and the Auto Club Finals at Pomona in two weeks time.

Our Southwest correspondent, "Big" Bob Snyder arrived at the track yesterday afternoon and sent along a batch of pics from the pits to weht our appetities for the main course of qualifying and eliminations photos to come. Check back later today to see what we've been able to post.

Terry Haddock - 'Circle Racing' - FC --- Terry Haddock - 'Circle Racing' - FC

Mike Burns - 'Let's Roll Racing' - A/FD --- Rob Passey - 'Seven23 Enterprises - TF

Mitch Myers - 'EPHA Hose' - A/FD --- Rachel Meyer (left) Julie Nataas (right) 
- A/FD

Shawn Cowie - 'Mundie's Towing' - B/AD --- Dragster with snow tires

Mike Salinas - 'Scrappers Racing' - PM --- Funny Car trailers

Chris Marshall - 'Disturbed Racing' - TA/FC --- Jake Guadagnolo - 'MBRE' - TA/FC

Steve Gasparelli - TA/FC --- Steve Gasparelli - TA/FC

Annie Whiteley - 'J&A Services' - TA/FC --- Steve Gasparelli - TA/FC --- Chris Marshall's wife

Steve Huff - 'Current Technology - 200 mph electric 
dragster --- Steve Huff - 'Current Technology - 200 mph electric 
dragster --- Steve Huff - 'Current Technology - 200 mph electric 
dragster

Chris Demke - 'Peen-Rite' - B/AD --- Big Bob Snyder --- Josh Hart - 'R&L Carriers' - TF

Top Alcohol Dragster with snow tires --- Top Alcohol Dragster with snow tires

Dylan Cromwell memorial



The latest update as of October 28, 2021


Today we've got the last set of photos from Saturday, which include AA/Fuel Altered qualifying, Pro Mod first round of eliminations, the first round of Nostalgia Funny Car eliminations, and the final qualifying sessions for Top Fuel and AA/Fuel Altered. Captions will be added throughout the day. Just keep refreshing each time you visit to see the latest additions.

AA/FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Session #1

Dave 'Nasty' Benjamin - AA/FA --- Nick Van Horn - 'Panic' (near lane) vs 
Randy Bradford - 'Bradford's Fiat' (far lane) - AA/FA

(LEFT) The ageless veteran from Washington state, Dave "Nasty" Benjamin opened his account with a solid run. Despite a lazy launch (1.076 in 60'), he had it up on the tires soon after and kept the pedal down until the 1000' mark before coasting across the finish line with a 6.346 - 185.36 time.

(RIGHT) In the next pairing, two period-correct cars faced off with Nick Van Horn (near lane) in the "Panic! '23 Bantam cranking out a pair of career bests at to show that they meant business. In the other lane Randy Bradford kept pace with him until the top end, but still clocked in at a very good 6.258 - 236.34 to take the second spot on the ladder.

Jeff Bennett - 'Pure Heaven' (near lane) vs 
Brian Hope 'Pure Hell' (far lane) - AA/FA --- Brian Hope 'Pure Hell' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Two more nicknames that are synonymous with Fuel Altered racing came up next, with Jeff Bennett in the late Leon Fitzgerald's "Pure Heaven" (near lane) running into trouble early and shutting off to a 8.699 - 101.88, while (mostly obscured in the far lane) Brian Hope fared even worse in the Rich Guasco-owned "Pure Hell" entry, finally stopping the timers at 10.485 - 91.59 to close out the qualifying session.

(RIGHT) Here's a closer look at the Pure Hell car as it slows with the Pure Heaven chutes in the foreground.


PRO MOD - Eliminations Round #1


Robert Bingham (near lane) vs Karl Wilson 
(far lane) - PM --- Sean Renteria - 'Borrmann's Steel' (near lane) 
vs Wade Sjostrom (far lane) - PM

(LEFT) Eliminations in Pro Mod began with Robert Bingham in his flaming '67 Nova (near lane) facing off against Karl Wilson in the '93 'Vette (far lane). Bingham stepped up hugely from his so-so 7.08 qualifying time to a 6.266 - 225.00 in the "Shoebox", but a late (.280 light) launch cost him the win as Wilson 's slower took the win by a car length despite his mediocre (.188) reaction time.

(RIGHT) The next pair saw the winner, Sean Renteria, step up but it wasn't needed as opponent Wade Sjostrom, the lone Canadian in the field, headed for the wall when the light turned green, forcing him to lift. Renteria ran away to an even quicker time than his qualifying efforts, with a 5.848 - 247.47 lighting up the scoreboards.

Troy Ferry (near lane) vs Josh Kalish (far 
lane) - PM --- Dan Myers (near lane) vs Andy Kouerinis (far 
lane) - PM

(LEFT) Another runaway victory was the story for the third pair, but this one came with a twist as Troy Ferry in the 2014 Challenger literally blew off his own passenger-side door on the launch, and he limped to a 21.077 - 34.79 time. The crew on Josh Kalish's '53 Stude got it all figured out as he stepped up to a winning 6.052 at a big speed of 248.52 mph.

(RIGHT) Early model Chev versus later model as Dan Myers (near lane) pushed his '57 Chevy to a winning 6.295 at an early shutoff 195.93 mph, while in the far lane Andy Kouerinis popped the blower at the 330' mark and slowed to a 10.494 - 77.80 clocking.

Ed Marx - PM --- Jeremy Hanger - 'Kirk Kuhns' - PM

(LEFT) The next pair turned into a bye run for #2 qualifier Ed Marx in his '53 Vette as scheduled opponent Eric Peterson broke during qualifying. Marx put on a show for the fans with a half track burnout, then backed up and launched to a 5.985 - 231.04 despite a quick early pedal job.

(RIGHT) Closing out the round was the bye run for low qualifier Jeremy Hanger in the Kirk Kuhns '59 'Vette, and he took it easy with an early shutoff to "only" a 5.899 - 208.07 mph pass to advance to a second round match against Sean Renteria.


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round #1


Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro' (near lane) 
vs Jerry Eepeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0' (far lane) - NFC --- Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' (near lane) 
vs James Day - 'Speed Sport Special' (far lane) - NFC

(LEFT) Nitro flopper eliminations began with a wire-to-wire win for Jerry Espeseth (far lane) as he left first by a tenth, and came close to matching his qualifying numbers with a 5.741 - 253.56 to run away from Chris Davis's good try 6.292 at a slowing 171.08 speed.

(RIGHT) The "Problem Child" Camaro of Eddie Knox and Billy Morris (near lane) was only a problem for opponent James Day in the far lane. The child dispatched Day's "Speed Sport" Omni with a career best 5.615 - 250.13 that took the winlight by two car lengths. Day left first by nearly half a tenth, and ran a very competitive 5.812 - 245.94 that just wasn't quick enough. At the top end it banged the blower, but the ensuing fire went out quickly.

Terry Haddock - 'Fool's Errand' (near lane) 
vs Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardhal Special' (far lane) - NFC --- Dan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' (near lane) vs 
Don Knoblouch - 'Atomic Punk' (far lane) - NFC

(LEFT) It took eight years to put together the "Fool's Errand", but big show nitro racer Terry Haddock (near lane) started getting on top of the nitro nostalgia tuneup quickly as he progressed from a 7.343 (first qualifier) to a 6.524 (final session) and finally a decent 6.180 - 234.00 in the first round. However, it wasn't nearly enough as Bobby Cottrell (far lane) left first (by a tenth) and put up a 5.632 - 242.71 to turn on another winlight as he's been doing since starting to drive for Bucky "Northwest Hitter" Austin.

(RIGHT) Former Heritage series champion Dan Horan in the near lane cut a slow (.175) light and had to pedal early, but his 5.960 - 251.58 was more than enough to handle Washington's Don Knoblouch as the "Atomic Punk" reacted even slower with a .287 light, and shut off early to a 6.201 - 199.88 for the loss.

Justin Taylor - 'Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty' 
(near lane) vs Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' (far lane) - NFC --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' (near lane) vs 
Drew Austin - 'Pro Max' (far lane) - NFC

(LEFT) Coming in as an underdog, the Taylor Motorsports team with young Justin Taylor (near lane) in the seat faced an uphill battle against the "Capitol Punishment" Camaro of Tony Jurado in the far lane. Taylor gave it his best shot with a very good 5.794 at only 228.81 mph, but it wasn't close to Jurado's quickest of the weekend 5.638 - 258.17.

(RIGHT) Holding lane choice was Geoff Monise in the "Quarter Pounder" (near lane) but the advantage evaporated instantly on the green as he struck the tires and could only watch (from a distance) Drew Austin (far lane) turn another career best with a 5.720 - 253.61 in the family's "Pro Max" car. Monise had outqualified Austin with a career best 5.681 (#6) to Austin's 5.772 (#11), but the Clark, Van Gundy & Monise team just went "over center" in the first round.

Rian Konno - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno 
(near lane) vs Cory Lee - 'The Pedaler' (far lane) - NFC --- Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' (near lane) vs 
Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler' (far lane) - NFC

(LEFT) The sharp looking Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno" Mustang (near lane) left with veteran big show racer Cory Lee in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" (far lane) but Lee steadily pulled away to take the win with a 5.705 - 258.86 over Konno's close, but not close enough 5.789 - 252.10 effort. The gap at the stripe was less than two car lengths in what was a close and entertaining race.

(RIGHT) The final race of the round was also the closest, as the "Cacklin' Critter" (near lane) left with the flames up, but driver Matt Melendez was three hundredths of a second behind Kamaka Pocock (far lane) in Don Nelson's "California Hustler". However, at the finish line Melendez turned on the winlight with a 5.729 - 240.94 to barely - and we mean just barely - outrun Pocock's 5.765 - 230.37 pass. The gap at the finish line was just six thousandths of a second and the low speed (only 230 mph) for Pocock might just have been the difference. An incredible race to conclude a great round of Nostalgia Funny Car racing.


NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #3


Sunset over the olive groves

Due to a few oildowns during the other eliminator category eliminations, the final qualifying session for Nostalgia Top Fuel began with the sun fully set and the flames really starting to show.

Jim Murphy - 'WWIII' (near lane) vs 
Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' (far lane) - NTF --- Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' (near lane) vs 
Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop Special' (far lane) - NTF

(LEFT) With the field already set when Dusty Green failed to better the 6.351 bump spot in the first pair of the round, the table was set for position changes for the remaining cars in the lanes. Sitting on that bump spot was Tyler Hester (far lane) in the "Overtime Special" and he managed to leapfrog over Jim Murphy (near lane) as neither driver made it to the finish line under power. Murphy's powerplant expired in a cloud of smoke at the 800' mark, clocking in at 6.266 - 144.00 as Hester made it a little further and quicker as his 6.216 - 181.59 moved him up to #6 and Murphy down to #7 on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Dropping down to the #8 spot was Brendan Murry (near lane) and he failed to retake the #7 spot as he left soft and was in trouble right away, as can be seen in the photo. In the far lane Adam Sorokin was running hot in the "Champion Speed Shop" small-block Chevy until he took out the 1000' cones and DQ'd both runs. That left both racers in their respective #3 (Sorokin) and #8 (Murry) positions on the qualifying sheet.

Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - NTF --- Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' - NTF

(LEFT) Running a single was Tyler Hilton in the big-block Chevy powered "Great Expectations III" and he jumped into the #4 spot and the top half of the field with a very good 5.889 - 219.04 to show that the overnight camshaft change was paying dividends.

(RIGHT) The final pair of Top Fuel qualifying was also a very special race-within-a-race in memory of longtime fuel racer Tom Shelar, the owner of the "High Speed Motorsports" team who passed away suddenlty two years ago. A group of companies, spearheaded by Custom Floaters put up a $12,000 winner take all purse for the two drivers with the best average elapsed times over the past year. We're not sure if the Tom Shelar Memorial Drag Race will become a fixture on the schedule but it was a very worthy memorial to a great drag racer.

In the near lane Frank McBee Jr. burned out in the "Valley Thunder" in preparation to face Bret Williamson in the "Forever Young" entry (not shown). They left together, but Williamson started opening a gap almost from the starting line and it was all over by half track when McBee lifted, making Williamson's 5.799 - 250.92 the winning time over McBee's slowing 8.200 - 102.05 effort. And that was it for Nostalgia Top Fuel qualifying.


AA/FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Session #2


Brian Hope - 'Pure Hell' - AA/FA --- Brian Hope - 'Pure Hell' (near lane) vs 
Ron Hope - 'Rat Trap' - AA/FA

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dan Pettinato - 'Rat Poison' - AA/FA --- Dan Pettinato - 'Rat Poison' (near lane) vs 
Randy Bradford - 'Bradford's Fiat' (far lane) - AA/FA

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shawn Callen - 'High Heaven' - AA/FA --- Shawn Callen - 'High Heaven' (near lane) vs 
Kyle Hough - 'Nanook' (far lane) - AA/FA

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeff Bennett - 'Pure Heaven' (near lane) vs 
Nick Van Horn - 'Panic!' (far lane) - AA/FA


The latest update as of October 27, 2021


Before we start posting our coverage of Saturday's final day of qualifying - and first round of eliminations in Nostalgia Funny Car - we've got the final points standings in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series. Check back later today for our next installment from the California Hot Rod Reunion.

2021 NHRA Heritage NTF Final Points

2021 NHRA Heritage NFC Final Points


NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2


Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' (near lane) vs 
Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' (far lane) - NTF --- Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' - NTF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' (near lane) vs 
Dan Horan (far lane) - NTF --- Dusty Green (near lane) vs Jim Murphy - WWIII' 
(near lane) - NTF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Dan Horan - NTF --- Dan Horan - NTF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' - NTF --- Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - NTF

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' - NTF --- Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' - NTF

Slowing down after his final qualifying attempt, Tyler Hester runs into a little trouble with the "Overtime Special" and ends up next to (or into) the guardwall at the deep end of the shutdown area.


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3


Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' (near lane) vs 
Drew Austin - 'Pro Max' - NFC --- Drew Austin - 'Pro Max' - NFC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Rian Konno - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno - 
NFC --- Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler' - NFC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' (near lane) vs 
Terry Haddock - 'Fool's Errand' - NFC --- Jerry Epeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0' - NFC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' - NFC --- Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' - NFC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

James Day - 'Speed Sport Special' - NFC --- Don Knoblouch - 'Atomic Punk' - NFC

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeff Gregory - 'Madness' - NFC --- Old School Funny Car

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


The latest update as of October 26, 2021


California Hot Rod Reunion logo

PRO MOD QUALIFYING - Friday

These are not NHRA "Big Show" Pro Mods, or one of the multitude of "Outlaw" series that have proliferated. It's just a bunch of West Coast cars that gather for a fun event at Bakersfield twice a year. Lots of less-than-perfect aerodrynamic bodies and not as polished, and certainly not as well sponsored as you might expect at a national event. Hmm... sort of like Funny Car Chaos with doorslammer bodies. Pro Mod Chaos anyone?

Andy Kouerinis - PM --- Kirk Kuhns - PM

(LEFT) Leading off the Pro Mods was Andy Kouerinis in his Camaro S/S and he put down a good 6.179 - 214.69 to sit fourth in the field at the end of Friday's qualifying.

(RIGHT) Long-time West Coast hitter Kirk Kuhns is still at it after three decades of wheeling Pro Mods, but it's Jeremy Hanger behind the wheel of his '59 'Vette now. He covered the field by a bunch with a very strong 5.806, coupled with a BIG speed of 257.92 mph.

Karl Wilson - PM --- Josh Kalish - PM

(LEFT) In contrast to the early model 'Vette of Kuhns, the '93 'Vette of Karl Wilson showed a very different look, and unfortunately, a very different result as Karl's best effort of the day was an early shutoff of 9.997 - 75.98 to sit at the bottom of the 11-car field.

(RIGHT) This very sinister looking '53 Stude of Josh Kalish blasted out a solid 6.297 - 240.51 to slot into the middle of the field in the #5 spot.

Sean Renteria - 'Borrmann's Steel' - PM --- Troy Ferry - 'Bunker Motorsports' - PM

(LEFT) The totally unique '65 Valiant of Sean Renteria doesn't look like it should be able to run that fast, but his 5.955 - 244.56 landed him in the #2 position on the ladder, however, well behind the #1 (Jeremy Hanger) car by a tenth and a half.

(RIGHT) The only late model car in the field, the Bunker Motorsports '14 Challenger driven by Troy Ferry almost broke into the 5-second zone, carding a 6.026 - 242.58, good enough for the #3 position.

Dan Myers - PM --- Eric Petersen - 'The EFI Store' - PM

(LEFT) The clean looking '57 Chevy of Dan Myers didn't get all that he wanted, with a leaving him in the #7 spot on the charts.

(RIGHT) Something totally different is the flat black '51 Chevy of Washington state's Eric Petersen, who had a troubled day with a best of only 7.379 - 186.95 to his credit.

Robert Bingham - PM

It took a bit of digging (and a closer look at the permanent number on the side window) to deduce that this is Robert Bingham in a '67 Nova, running Pro Mod and qualifying in the #10 position with a 7.089 - 162.33 timeslip.


NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING - Session #2 - Friday

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - NFC --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' - NFC

(LEFT) From the outhouse to not quite the penthouse, car owner/tuner Eddie Knox sorted out whatever problems his "Problem Child" had and it resulted in Billy Morris cranking out a 5.635 - 239.36 to jump from #13 to #3, despite the early shutoff, evidenced by the sub-240 mph speed.

(RIGHT) Running in the lane next to Morris, Geoff Monise tried to duplicate his first session career best 5.68 pass, but he was forced to lift just before the 1000' mark. The timeslip showed some great incrementals to half track, nearly three hundredths and five mph ahead of Morris, but the quarter-mile time was only 6.234 - 137.01 and that saw him drop from #3 to #4 on the qualifying list.

Tony Jurado - 'Capitol Punishment' - NFC --- Drew Austin - 'Pro Max' - NFC

(LEFT) With the car up For Sale as he moves deeper into the "Big Show" nitro funny car world, Tony Jurado was trying hard to improve on his first session 5.729, but fell just short with a still very good 5.780 - 250.88. He didn't drop back and stayed in the middle of the field at #8 on the ladder.

(RIGHT) In the other lane was the overnight success story of the meet, Drew Austin and the Austin clan turned the screws on the tuneup in the right direction, as they stepped up nearly two tenths from a 5.952 to an excellent 5.772 - 241.89 to #8 from #10. Steady progress and the car still wasn't run all the way to the finish line.

Dan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' - NFC --- Don Knoblouch - 'Atomic Punk' - NFC

(LEFT) Coming out of the burnout with the motor set on "mean", Dan Horan was ready to rock the scoreboards and he did just that. In fact, to the tune of 5.614 - 256.70 to close the gap to #1 Bobby Cottrell.

(RIGHT) With Jeff Diehl helping sort out the Don Knoblouch car, the second session saw the car run hard to half track, before coasting to a much better (than his earlier 7.058) e.t. of 6.542, at a very early shutoff 155.01 mph. With other cars stepping up, that moved the "Punk" down from #12 to #14 going into the final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.

Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0' - NFC --- James Day - 'Speed Sport Special' - NFC

(LEFT) After a solid 5.729 e.t. in the first qualifying session, Jerry Espeseth went absolutely nowhere when he ignited the tires on the launch and didn't cross the finish line until the clocks had reset for the next pair.

(RIGHT) It was a good looking launch for the "Speed Sport" Omni, carrying the front wheels past the 60' mark, but it went south shortly after as James Day could only manage a 8.693 - 93.85 to drop into the #17 spot with just one qualifying session left.

Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro' - NFC --- Kamaka Pocock - 'California Hustler' - NFC

(LEFT) Another consistent pass, in the 5's and over 240 mph, but his 5.957 - 241.20 left him Chris Davis in the #13 spot at the end of Friday's second qualifying session.

(RIGHT) After an early shutoff (5.892 at just 195.05 mph) in the first session, Kamaka Pocock really picked up the pace in Don Nelson's "California Hustler", knocking two tenths of his e.t. and moving up to the #5 spot with an excellent 5.684 - 252.52 timeslip.

Terry Haddock - 'Fool's Errand' - NFC --- Terry Haddock - 'Fool's Errand' - NFC

Making his Heritage Series debut with a solid burnout, then launching with the butterflies wide open on the old-style Hilborn "Shotgun" injector, Terry Haddock labored down track in the ex-"Mr. Boston" car. It's now the "Fool's Errand" but still pays homage to it's "Bawstin" origin. The clocks stopped for Haddock at 7.434 - 196.27; nothing to write home about, but good enough for the #15 spot and a provisional spot in the show.

Heidi Austin - BUG - NFC

Always seen in front of the "Austin & O'Brien" car, backing up Bobby Cottrell, it's Heidi Austin performing her "reverse gear assistant" duties with style.


NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL QUALIFYING - Friday


Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop Special - NTF --- Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - NTF

(LEFT) In far-and-away the most unique car in Nostalgia Top Fuel racing, second generation driver Adam Sorokin had his hands full when the small-block Chevy powered "Champion Speed Shop Special" got waaay too close to the wall before he wisely lifted and coasted to a 9.738 - 82.18 to leave him on the outside of the field in the #9 spot going into Saturday's final qualifier.

(RIGHT) Another non-conventional powerplant came out next as a big-block Chevy sat between the frame rails in the Jim & Allison Lee-owned "Great Expectations III" car. This team has been running since the early 70's and one of the original driver's sons is now in the hot seat. It's young Tyler Hilton and he ran strong until the power went away on the top end, stopping the clocks at 6.024 - 201.76 to show there was a lot more potential in their new combination after blowing it up BIG TIME at Bowling Green in June.

Frank McBee Jr. - 'Valley Thunder' - NTF --- Bret Williamson - 'Forever Young' - NTF

(LEFT) At the end of the burnout, Frank McBee Jr. brought the "Valley Thunder" to a halt before preparing to launch into his first qualifying attempt. It went well to the 1000' mark, then the throttle closed and McBee coasted across the finish line at 6.263 - 203.09 to slot into the #4 position.

(RIGHT) Running alongside McBee was the "Forever Young" team with jack-of-all-trades Bret Williamson behind the motor. He was running away from the Valley Thunder at half track before shutting off to a 6.567 - 161.50, only good enough for the #6 rung on the ladder.

Brendan Murry - 'Runnin' Wild' - NTF --- Tyler Hester - 'Overtime Special' - NTF

(LEFT) Now running a late-model Chrysler, former Chevy stalwart Brendan Murry didn't have much better luck as his "Runnin' Wild" had to shut off early to a 7.433 - 129.59 clocking that left him in the #7 spot.

(RIGHT) Launching hard in the "Overtime Special" with the flames high, but unfortunately, not for long, was Tyler Hester as he slowed to an 8.043 at 99.11 mph to end up on the provisional bubble for the 8-car field.


Mark Tarabochia - 'Bad Medicine' - 7.0 PRO

Down from Oregon to test the 7.0 PRO waters again, Mark Tarabochia wheeled the "Bad Medicine" '70 Barracuda (the only Funny Car in the class) to a 7.642 to hold down the 16th place in the all-run 22-car field.


The latest update as of October 25, 2021


California Hot Rod Reunion logo

Drew Austin WINS Nostalgia Funny Car at the California Hot Rod Reunion

Drew Austin - 'Pro Max' - NFC --- Drew Austin - 'Pro Max' - NFC

Two views of Drew Austin in the "Pro Max" car. On the left, it's him launching hard in the first qualifying session on Friday, and on the right, he slows after his final qualifying pass on Saturday. Read on to see how his weekend went.


Eliminations concluded late yesterday afternoon at the 29th annual California Hot Rod Reunion. There was a first-time winner - in his debut event in Nostalgia Funny Car - as Drew Austin made the leap from A/Fuel Dragster to a nitro funny car look easy. Of course, when your grandfather (Walt Austin) started burning nitro more than 60 years ago, and your father, (Pat Austin) won 75 NHRA national events (including five in Top Fuel), then you've got a serious database of knowledge, both on the mechanical, and driving side of things.

Young Austin spent this season getting used to the car and working with his braintrust to develop a combination for their unique-to-nitro-racing, Ford hemi engine. They started off the weekend with an solid out of the trailer 5.952 - 240.29 pass, and it just got better from there. He finished qulifying in the #11 spot with an improved 5.772 - 241.89 in the second qualifer, before running a slightly slower, but faster 5.825 - 245.05 pass in the final session to show the consistency that's such an integral part of success in drag racing.

It only got better from there as he ran an excellent 5.720 - 253.61 in an opening round win over a tire-smoking Geoff Monise. That 253.61 mph speed marked his first pass over 250 mph. At noon Sunday in the second round of eliminations, he was paired up against Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" car and wasn't expected to get past the veteran racer who had qualified with a 5.635 and ran an even better 5.615 in the first round. Leaving first by eight hundredths (.041 to .122 reactions), Austin blitzed the timers with an awesome low e.t. and top speed of the meet - and obviously career bests - 5.548 - 260.11 to leave Morris far behind at the finish line.

Going into the semi-final race against Dan Horan, and holding lane choice by a full tenth of a second, Austin kept up the momentum with a great light (.041) to Horan's tardy .171 effort, and made the holeshot stand up for the win. His 5.639 - 256.55 took the winlight by more than a car length as Horan trailed, despite a better 5.582 e.t. Horan also reset the top speed mark with the fastest pass in the history of the class with an earth shaking 267.11 mph clocking. Despite the enthusiasm shown by the announcers, I'm not 100% certain that the speed was legitimate. It's for smarter minds than mine (yes, that's a very, very, very long list!) to work that one out.

As the sun dipped to the horizon, the final pair of Funny Cars pulled into the water box to put a cap on the event, and Austin kept it going with another great light (.053 to his opponent's .106) to put an instant gap on challenger Jerry Espeseth (in the former Jason Rupert car), and the winlight shone in Austin's lane again, as his 5.636 - 256.60, coupled with his starting line advantage was more than enough to make Espeseth's very good 5.663 - 255.63 only good enough for runnerup.

What an incredible weekend for young Mr. Austin, his father, his grandfather, and all the members of the "Pro Max" team. All the testing and tuning that went into a dream debut was certainly more than worthwhile in the end. However, it's a long time until the 2022 Good Vibrations March Meet on March 3-6, 2022. 139 days in fact, before the Austin clan gets to some burn some more nitro. It will seem an eternity after what they did yesterday at Famoso Dragstrip.

As I finished this story, it occurred to me that Drew's father Pat almost repeated that Cinderella story at the 1991 NHRA U.S. Nationals in his Top Fuel debut. He fell just short - agonizingly short - when he backfired the blower on the burnout in the final round against Kenny Bernstein. He had lane choice, and a clear performance advantage over the "Budweiser King" but it all came undone just a few seconds short of one of the greatest fuel racing debuts in history. Thankfully, Drew's first time out in Nostalgia Funny Car had such a better ending.

POSTSCRIPT: For an even better story, written by a much better writer (Phil Burgess), check out his article from May 12, 2017, where he detailed the events leading up to, and after, Pat Austin's (almost) double victory in his first national event competing in Top Fuel. Here's the link to Pat Austin and "The Double". Hope you enjoy it!


FRIDAY Qualifying

Joel Miner - 'Miner Threat' - A/FX --- Dan Horan - 'Infinity Plumbing' - NFC

(LEFT) Lifting the wheels waaay up was Joel Miner in his '65 Dodge "Miner Threat" as he made a qualifying pass in A/FX. His best of the weekend was a 10.339 - 128.24 that placed him #19 in the 28-car A/FX field.

(RIGHT) After the sportsman cars finished their session, it was time for the first round of qualifying for Nostalgia Funny Car. One of the first cars out of the lanes was Dan Horan in his "Infinity Plumbing" entry and he pounded out a huge 5.614 - 256.70 to stake his claim for the #1 spot. Barely visible in the near lane is the flamed nose of Tony Jurado's car as he nearly matched Horan's e.t. with a 5.674 at a booming 259.56 mph.

Cory Lee - 'The Pedaler' - NFC --- Chris Davis - 'Old School Nitro - NFC

(LEFT) Getting a little sideways on the burnout was Cory Lee in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" '79 Challenger. He put down a strong opening lap of 5.684 - 257.97 to slot into the #7 spot at the end of the session.

(RIGHT) Coming down from Spokane, WA with his "Old School Nitro" '77 Arrow, was Chris Davis and he laid down a good 5.957 - 241.20 to start his weekend.

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' - NFC --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' - NFC

(LEFT) The already crowned 2021 NHRA Heritage Series champion, Bobby Cottrell in the very familiar Austin & O'Brien Bardahl Special, put down low e.t. of the round with a very quick 5.603 - 251.11 to let everyone know he was ready to go for his fifth event win in a row.

(RIGHT) Shocking everyone in the pits, and possibly even himself, Geoff Monise cranked out a career best 5.681 - 236.05 despite a slightly early shutoff. Leaving with the wheels up, the car covered the first 330' in less than 2.5 seconds to lead the field in that incremental. The crew was ecstatis to see the numbers on scoreboard as after five decades of running funny cars, the Van Gundy, Clark & Monise team finally broke into the 5.60's. That pass also put them in the top half of the field in the #6 spot.

Justin Taylor - 'Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty' - NFC --- Kris Krabill - 'Screamer' - NFC

(LEFT) Second generation driver Justin Taylor pushed the Mustang-bodied "Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty" car to a very good opening pass of 5.796 - 235.02 that eventually was only good enough for the #7 position (after the first session) in what was quickly shaping up as a very tough field.

(RIGHT) Looking like he was pedalling before the 60' mark, Kris 'Hollywood' Krabill launched the "Screamer" to a low 6-second pass that ended in a large fireball. It got worse after the finish line, as the oil-fed inferno forced Krabill to make an exit while the car was still in motion, leading to a trip to the hospital. The car was badly damaged, and to add insult to injury, the e.t. was DQ' due to the ensuing oildown. Thankfully, Krabill was back at the track on Saturday in good spirits, despite an early end to the event for the team.

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' - NFC --- Drew Austin - 'Pro Max' - NFC

(LEFT) Smoking the tires hard on the burnout, Billy Morris drove Eddie Knox's "Problem Child" Camaro to an early shutoff 7.663 at only 118.82 mph to end the first round of qualifying in the #13 position.

(RIGHT) Making his first competition pass in Nostalgia Funny Car, Drew Austin made the jump from A/Fuel to the nitro flopper world look easy with a very good 5.952 - 240.29 that put him in the #10 spot after Q-1. Those numbers would end up being his slowest of the weekend as you'll see later in our California Hot Rod Reunion coverage.

Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' - NFC --- Jeff Gregory - 'Madness' - NFC

(LEFT) The heavily modified '70 Challenger body that adorns the "Cacklin' Critter" worked well for Matt Melendez as he cranked out a good 5.850 - 225.26 despite the early shutoff, placing him eighth in the field.

(RIGHT) The black '78 Camaro "Madness" of Jeff Gregory didn't get very far under power, shutting off very early to a 8.343 - 99.60 to end up near the bottom of the field.

Jerry Espeseth - 'Rolling Thunder 2.0' - NFC --- Don Knoblouch - 'Atomic Punk' - NFC

(LEFT) Last year's runnerup in the points battle, Jerry Espeseth hadn't been seen since the Heritage season opener at Boise's 'Ignitor' event, but didn't show any rust from the inactivity, pounding out a 5.729 - 253.37 to place him #4 in the field in the "Rolling Thunder 2.0" entry.

(RIGHT) Closing out the round was Washington state's Don Knoblouch"Atomic Punk" Camaro, and his first pass of the weekend was a so-so 7.058 - 192.12, that showed there was still some work to do on the tuneup.


The latest update as of October 24, 2021


California Hot Rod Reunion logo

The final day of the California Hot Rod Reunion kicked off with the first round of eliminations for Top Fuel. With just nine cars in the pits, only Dusty Green didn't make the cut due to a DQ'd run (due to an oildown) in the second qualifying session on Saturday. Following right after the TF cars was the 2nd round of Nitro Funny Car, and closing the first installment of the PRO show were the ever-popular and unpredictable AA/Fuel Altereds. Despite the publishing of a ladder for the AA/FA's, late word (via Facebook) came from one of the contenstants that they were running a "Chicago Style" show where everyone runs two rounds, then the quickest two cars meet in a final.

Top Fuel E-1 Eliminations

Top qualifier Dan Horan opened proceedings by easily dispatching #8 qualifier Brendan Murry with another big set of numbers, as his 5.652 - 261.78 obliterated Murry's trailing mid 6-second effort. Horan's speed set a new top speed of the meet to punctuate his win. His opponent in the semi-finals was determined quickly as Tyler Hilton in the Lee family "Great Expectations III" stepped up a little from their qualifying 5.889 to a winning 5.875 - 236.80 to send Frank McBee Jr. packing.

The higher qualified cars kept advancing as #2 Bret Williamson ran away former champion Jim Murphy's early shutoff on the top end, turning on the winlight with a solid 5.830 - 250.46 as Murphy faded to a 6-second pass. Closing out the round was the "Champion Speed Shop" Special with Adam Sorokin aboard, as he prevailed in the closest match of the round, coming from behind to take the winlight by only .0014 second over Tyler Hester. Sorokin's charging 5.858 - 250.23 just barely edged Hester's slowing 5.890 - 208.30 effort.

Nitro Funny Car E-2 Eliminations

AA/Fuel Altered E-1 Eliminations


The latest update as of October 23, 2021


California Hot Rod Reunion logo

Things don't always go according to plan, and today is no exception. Our faithful photojournalist, BIG Bob Snyder has been bitten by a digital age bug - bad wi-fi. He was able to send us yesterday's pics through his Facebook page, but things are obviously working for him and we may not see any more photos from him until he gets back to Phoenix on Monday. We certainly hope the same fate doesn't befall him in Las Vegas next weekend for the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals.

We've been able to follow the action from Bakersfield via DragRacer.tv, through a direct link or from CompetitionPlus.com. Even better, it's available on YouTube LIVE on my big-screen television. Technology is wonderful... when it works, unlike at Motel 6.6, or wherever Mr. Snyder is residing in Bakersfield.

Here's the qualifying results for Nitro Funny Car and Top Fuel Dragster.


Nitro Funny Car Qualifying

Top Fuel Qualifying

AAFA Qualifying

Nitro Funny Car E-1 Eliminations

The latest update as of October 22, 2021


California Hot Rod Reunion logo

Yes, it's that time of year again when the California Hot Rod Reunion kicks off at Auto Club Raceway Famoso. Bob Snyder arrived yesterday and took a tour of the pits to see who's there and meet lots of old friends. It's more than a race, it's truly a reunion, with a great drag race added. Here's a sampling of pit shots before we get into the racing photos later in the weekend. We'll keep updating this page throughout, so keep refereshing it every time you visit.

We just found a live broadcast of the Reunion on Drag Racer TV's YouTube channel. Here's the link. The first qualifying session for the Nostalgia Funny Cars has just finished, and there were some very strong runs laid down, but with only 17 cars running, the 16-car bump spot ended up at a slightly less than scintillating 17-second timeslip. However, the #8 qualifier clocked a very strong 5.850 at an early shutoff 225.26 mph. This evening's second session should see even better numbers, and hopefully, more cars in the lanes. Here's the list, courtesy of Drag Racer TV.

Nitro Funny Car Q-1

Here's a short set of pics that our correspondent BIG Bob Snyder took while touring the pits on Thursday. And that's just the start of his weekend's work. He'll be supplying with heaps of action shots throughout the weekend. Stay tuned for more updates each day.

BIG dogie

Guarding the golf kart and the pit area behind it is the BIG dog.

Cory Lee - 'The Pedaler' - AA/FC --- Morey & Pettinato - 'Rat Posion' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Out of his part-time "Big Show" ride and back in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" is itinerant drag racer Cory Lee getting ready for another Nostalgia Funny Car weekend.

(RIGHT) All the way from South Carolina is the "Rat Poison" AA/Fuel Altered team of Morey & Pettinato, a modern day tribute to a famous team of the 60's and 70's.

Dan Horan Jr. - 'Infinity' - AA/FC --- Van Gundy, Clark & Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' 
- AA/FC

(LEFT) It's Dan Horan (Jr.) with the body from his "Infinity Plumbing" AA/FC sitting behind the trailer, getting ready to contend for another race win.

(RIGHT) One of the real veteran teams, the group of Dale Van Gundy, Keith Clark, and Geoff Monise are still campaigning the "Quarter Pounder" after nearly fifty years of blasting down drag strips on the West Coast.

'Cacklin' Critter' - AA/FC --- 'Cacklin' Critter' - AA/FC

Two shots of the "Cacklin' Critter" team getting their AA/FC ready for action.

Don Knoblauch - 'Atomic Punk' - AA/FC --- Bob Snyder & Dave Kommel - 'Problem Child' pits

(LEFT) Just peeking out of the transporter as they begin the unloading process is the Washington state-based "Atomic Punk" AA/FC of Don Knoblauch.

(RIGHT) Making his version of a smile is our photographer, BIG Bob Snyder on the left, with veteran lensman (from almost the beginning of the sport) Dave Kommel hanging out at the "Problem Child" AA/Funny Car pits.

Ron Hope - 'Rat Trap' - AA/FA --- Randy Bradford - 'Bradford's Fiat' - AA/FA

(LEFT) It's the one... the only... "Rat Trap" AA/Fuel Altered, owned and driven by Ron Hope sitting in the pit area getting ready to run.

(RIGHT) Washington state's Randy Bradford campaigns the way-too-quick-for-that-short-narrow-car "Bradford's Fiat in the AA/Fuel Altered class. Unlike some of the other teams, it looks ready to head for the staging lanes.

Shawn Callen - 'High Heaven' - AA/FA --- 'Pure Hell' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Relaxing in the pits with the car ready to run is the "High Heaven" gang from Washington state. They are not to be confused (as I was :-) with the team of the same name from Colorado, the Jackson family, that competes in the Funny Car Chaos series. This altered is driven by Shawn Callen and the other team members are Brian & Hughie Callen.

(RIGHT) Another of the iconic names in AA/Fuel Altered racing from waaay back is the "Pure Hell" Bantam roadster, still owned by Rich Guasco, and now being driven by Brian Hope.

Ron Hope - 'Rat Trap' pit area --- VIP Media Parking

(LEFT) Even tough the car is not in sight, it's the "Rat Trap" pit area, with ageless Ron Hope on the left and (possibly even older) Larry Sutton on the right. Larry was one of the most famous starters in So-Cal drag racing history (Lions, Irwindale, Orange County, etc). He even drove Top Fuel and Alcohol cars in his "spare" time.

(RIGHT) Managing to snag a "VIP" media parking spot is our roving photojournalist, "BIG" Bob Snyder with his (very) incognito transporter.

Finishing off our photo "essay" is Bob Snyder trying - and failing - to disguise himself in what looks like a Mark Sanders mask while schmoozing in the "Cacklin' Critter" pits.

That's all we've got until tomorrow. In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on what's happening today in qualifying at the California Hot Rod Reunion.


The latest update as of October 17, 2021


FUNNY CAR CHAOS - World Finals - San Antonio, TX

We've got some of the details of what happened last night at the Alamo City Motorplex, but we don't have any numbers... yet. The BIG news is that the "High Risk" team of Ken Singleton took the series championship for the third year in a row. Finishing a close second was series newcomer Kirk Williams in the Williams Bros. Racing "200 Proof" entry, while another "rookie", Jade "Nemesis" Cook upset a lot of blown and/or fuel-burning runners with her nitrous oxide injected flopper.

Rounding out the top five were Daniel Butherus and his "Rat-A-Tude" team in 4th place, and Tom Furches in the "Made in America" Corvette in the 5th spot. While the bottom three (of the top five) took home a $1,000 bonus each, the 2nd place team earned $2,000, while the series champion took the big prize of $5,000. That pales somewhat in comparison to the event win prize money of $6,000 to win and $3,000 for the runnerup in the "A" fields, and $3,000 to win and $2,000 for the runnerup in the "B" fields.

Those payouts have attracted more than a few of the hard running NHRA Top Alcohol cars into the Chaos camp, and that trend will almost certainly continue in the 2022 season. And the number of NHRA Heritage Series (nostalgia nitro) "refugees" is on the same course. It doesn't make much financial sense for the NHRA Big Show nitro cars to compete at Chaos races, but Terry Haddock, Terry Totten, Ray Martin (in a Del Worsham rent-a-car), Todd Simpson, and Del Worsham attended the season opener at the Texas Motorplex. Haddock even showed up at the Finals and made the last qualifying session, but unfortunately wasn't able to hook up well enough to earn a spot in eliminations.

NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals - "Sure Bets and Upsets"

Possibly the biggest news to come out of Bristol this past week was of the off-track variety, namely the BIG announcement from Tony Stewart Racing. On Thursday at a media conference, Stewart announced the formation of a two-car team for 2022 with Leah Pruett in a Top Fuel Car and Matt Hagan running in Funny Car. This continues the downsizing (or dissolution, repurposing, realignment, disassembly - pick your verb) of the DSR (Don Schumacher Racing) juggernaut. It began with the parking of multi-time champion Tony Schumacher on a full-time basis at the end of the 2018 season (albeit with an 8-race cameo in 2020), and the dropping of Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. at the end of last season.

All three of those racers were forced onto the sidelines due to a lack of major sponsorship, and with the COVID pandemic and other related global commerce issues, the short-term outlook for the corporate backing necessary to fully fund a serious nitro team is seriously diminished. Another racer that is leaving the DSR camp at the end of this season, Antron Brown is taking the MATCO Tools sponsorship with him as he embarks on an adventure into the realm of team ownership. That will leave just two cars running under the DSR banner for 2022: Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel and Ron Capps in Funny Car. Quite a change from the days - not that long ago - when it was common to see a pair of DSR cars in the dragster and funny car fuel final rounds.

TOP FUEL After teasing everyone with some great performances at the last few events, Mike Salinas finally broke through with his first win of the season, and in fact, first win since his victory at Bristol in 2019. His team sat out the entire 2020 season, so it's not been as long a drought as it might appear. Runnerup for the second week in a row was Steve Torrence, whose team ran into some serious parts breakage issues (at least three engines), but still holds a 73-point lead over #2 Brittany Force. She has dominated qualifying all season, and even though she landed third on the ladder at this event, was able to rebound with some very quick and fast passes before losing in the semi-finals.

The track records at Thunder Valley took a serious beating, with Steve Torrence ending up with the high water mark at 3.667, while Justin Ashley re-set the m.p.h. mark twice, finally etching a 334.48 for the new speed standard. Ashley's day ended earlier than expected in the semi-finals as an uncharacteristically late leave (.108 reaction time) opened the door for Torrence to take him out and advance to the final.

One serious surprise was the strong performances of Pat Dakin's Commercial Metal Fabricators machine, with substitute driver Spencer Massey at the wheel. Massey filled in for the third time (in the last four races) and after qualifying #9 3.761 - 322.19 pass, improved to a 3.745 - 328.46 and a winlight in the 1st round, before falling to Brittany Force in the 2nd round, despite another solid effort of 3.777 - 320.13, initiated with an .047 light to make it a close race.

More to come....


The latest update as of October 16, 2021


FUNNY CAR CHAOS World Finals header

Qualifying ran rather late last night at Alamo Motorplex, but the FUNNY CAR CHAOS crew got in the first two (of three) qualifying sessions. Thirty cars made at least one attempt and seven of them dipped into the 3-second zone on the 1/8-th mile surface. Leading the pack was a surprisingly strong team that has only run at the season opener at the Texas Motorplex. Following close behind them on Friday's list were the top two runners this season, with some of the usually strong cars well back of their times. We'll have more details later today.

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' (near lane) vs 
Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane)

We lead off our coverage with a picture from the first session, with Nick Poloson (near lane) in the "Bucket List" taking on the #2 man in the points chase, Kirk Williams (far lane) in his "200 Proof" entry. Poloson's best run was 3.829 - 186.03 slotted him into the #4 position on the ladder, while Williams landed in #2 with an even better 3.703 - 207.28, which stood for the provisional top speed of the meet.

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) vs 
Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War' (far lane)

In the second qualifier, Williams moved over to the near lane, with Shayne Lawson in the "Man O' War" on the far side. Lawson earned a spot in the top eight ("A" field) with his #8 qualifying 4.063 - 144.65 early shutoff effort. If he can keep the loud pedal down a little longer in today's final qualifying session, he could solidify his hold on a spot in the top field.

Ronny Young - 'Blue Max' (near lane) vs 
Scott Cousimano - 'WTF Racing' (far lane)

Leaving hard with the flames high, Ronny Young in the iconic "Blue Max" took the top spot with an excellent 3.685 - 200.98 to show that they came to contend for the event win. In the far lane, Scott Cousimano in the "WTF Racing" Eric Medlen tribute car ran into trouble and slowed to a 6.475 - 78.27 clocking, leaving him in the #23 position.

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (near lane) vs 
Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (far lane)

Our final pair features two-time defending series champion Ken Singleton in his very familiar "High Risk" car putting down a 3.746 - 200.80 that landed him in the #3 spot on the charts. Barely visible in the far lane is Tom Furches in his Corvette-bodied "Made in America", as he pedalled his way to a 5.433 - 151.06 timeslip, slotting into the #21 spot on the list.


Just when we thought we wouldn't be receiving any more photos from San Antonio until Monday... up popped a fist full of them courtesy of our Colorado correspondent, Dale B. Fackler. He's attended three Funny Car Chaos events this year and provides some different looks and angles to complement the work of BIG Bob Snyder. We haven't got time this evening to fill in captions and update qualifying results, but the photos are here to enjoy until we fill in the blanks tomorrow. We'll also have the final results and the championship outcome for the season. Stay tuned!

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War'

Smiley Cordero - 'The Mistress' --- Smiley Cordero - 'The Mistress'

--- Back-Up Girl --- Back-Up Girl ---

Sunset at San Antonio --- Three-seater dragster launches

Allan Middendorf - 'American Outlaw' --- Ronny Young - 'Blue Max'

Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' --- Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' (near lane) 
vs Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' (far lane)

Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' --- Nancy Matter - 'The Guardian'

Donnie Massey - 'Showtime' - AA/FA --- Donnie Massey - 'Showtime' - AA/FA

Donnie Massey - 'Showtime' - AA/FA --- Jody Austin - 'Bushwhacker' - AA/FA

'Fire Injun' - A/FX --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'

Scott Pareso - 'Altered Reality' --- Scott Cousimano - 'WTF Racing'

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' --- Bob Alberty Jr. - 'Thunderin' Okie'


The latest update as of October 15, 2021


FUNNY CAR CHAOS World Finals header FUNNY CAR CHAOS World Finals header

While it was originally scheduled for the first weekend of October, the FUNNY CAR CHAOS World Finals was postponed due to a very unfavourable weather forecast for that weekend. Thankfully, they've got a much better forecast for this weekend, with warm-ish temps, reasonable humidty and light winds. The latest density altitude for the racers is well over 3000 ft. but that is foreast to drop into the low 2000's for the first qualifying session tonight at 7pm, and be down to 1500 ft for the second session at 10pm.

With 31 Funny Cars and at least a dozen AA/Fuel Altereds on the pre-entry list, plus Jet Dragsters, Nitro Harleys, Outlaw Top Sportsman, and more support classes, it promises to be the second biggest event on the FCC calendar. Unfortunately for the finals, the March race at the Texas Motorplex with 64++ Funny Cars is simply impossible to top.

Late breaking news: FCC has already got the 2022 date for that flopper extravaganza on the books, with March 24-26th chosen for the Funny Car Classic. It's going to be an overflow crowd of spectators and overflowing pits with every nitro burning funny car that wants to be part of a modern day 64 Funny Cars show. Scheduled two weeks after the NHRA Gatornationals, and one week before the Las Vegas 4-wide Nationals, there won't be any scheduling conflicts. It's going to be an absolutely don't miss event.

We've got the start of a large bonus of photos from the recent Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals to present. We're not quite going in chronological order as we're leading off with the Friday evening Top Fuel qualifying session. Due to the shortened Indy schedule (Sunday eliminations) and a rainout on the Saturday, this was the one and only session, which saw a few big names miss the abbreviated cut. Namely, Clay Millican and Mike Salinas. The same fate befell a few front runners in other categories too, but we'll get to that later.

Our thanks go to arguably the best grandstand photographer in drag racing, Bill Jeffery, who's been gracious enough to share some of his great work with us over the years. There will be much more to come throughout the weekend, so stay tuned! And don't forget: BIG Bob Snyder is shooting right now at San Antonio, and we expect to see a large batch of his work in our inbox tomorrow morning. In the meantime, enjoy the Indy photos.

Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals logo

Tripp Tatum (near lane) vs Alex Laughlin (far 
lane) --- Tripp Tatum (near lane) vs Alex Laughlin (far 
lane)

After a four-year layoff, Tripp Tatum (near lane) reappeared on the national tour with his own operation, laying down a very impressive 3.870 - 282.36 on his first attempt. Pulling away from him in the far lane was rookie Top Fuel racer Alex Laughlin in a Scott Palmer car, as he made the quickest pass of his short (just four races so far) TF career at 3.771 - 317.19 to take a (very) temporary #1 position in the 19-car field.

Greg Carillo --- Kyle Wurtzel (near lane) vs Joe Morrison (far 
lane)

(LEFT) Reflecting the great conditions, Greg Carillo made an even better - and also career quickest - pass of 3.769 - 320.20 to displace Laughlin at the top of the charts. Considering it was his first pass at Indianapolis and only his third event of the year, it was quite a statement.

(RIGHT) A good side-by-sider followed, with part-timer Kyle Wurtzel (near lane) making his quickest pass of the season at 3.849 - 311.77, while in the far lane, "Nitro" Joe Morrison stayed with him past half track before clicking it a tad early to a 4.107 - 294.88 clocking.

Buddy Hull

Making his eighth appearance of the season in the Terry Haddock "Rent-a-Ride" dragster, Buddy Hull had some good early numbers before clicking it off early to a 41.62 - 257.63 timeslip, good enough for the #13 spot in the field at the end of the session.

Doug Kalitta (near lane) vs Billy Torrence (far 
lane) --- Doug Kalitta (near lane) vs Billy Torrence (far 
lane)

Starting of the pairings of the Top Ten cars, Doug Kalitta (near lane) took on Billy "Captain Capco" Torrence in the far lane. They didn't disappoint as Kalitta took over the top spot with a very strong 3.751 - 317.05 pass, while Torrence slipped into the #3 spot with an almost-as-good 3.756 - 324.75 effort.

Justin Ashley --- Leah Pruett (near lane) vs Antron Brown (far 
lane)

(LEFT) Running by himself as opponent Clay Millican smoked the tires early, Justin Ashley pushed his mount to a very good 3.796 - 324.05 to take the #6 position on the ladder. However, he had fallen to #9 by the end of the session.

(RIGHT) A matchup of Don Schumacher Racing stablemates featured Leah Pruett in the near lane, pulling away from Antron Brown in the far lane. Pruett kept the throttle open all the way to the 1000' mark, stopping the clocks at 3.755 - 322.88 (ultimately good for the #5 spot), while Brown lost traction and shut off to a 4.305 - 142.40 result.

Brittany Force (near lane) vs Steve Torrence (far 
lane) --- Brittany Force (near lane) vs Steve Torrence (far 
lane)

Saving the best for last, as always, the top two drivers in the Top Fuel standings faced off, with Brittany Force in the near lane and Steve Torrence on the far side. They didn't disappoint as they ripped off the two quickest - and first in the 3.60's for the event - passes of the evening. Force stopped the clocks first with an awesome 3.684 - 334.57 for low e.t. and top speed, while Torrence trailed by only a whisker at 3.688 - 329.50 to take the second spot on the list. A great way to finish the first day of racing at the 67th annual Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals.


The latest update as of October 13, 2021


Here's the latest points standings and possible season totals for the top ten in Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car. We'll put up a synopsis of how the championship battles may play out a little later. Like tomorrow. Note that there are only two contenders for the national title in either category and the #2 dragster contender (Jackie Fricke) needs to win the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas to take the championship by ONE point. In Funny Car there is a serious battle brewing between Doug Gordon (defending champion) and Greg Bellemeur (multi-time champion). They'll both be at Vegas and it may come down to a head-to-head matchup for the title.

TAD Top Ten standings - October 10, 2021

TAFC Top Ten standings - October 10, 2021

The latest update as of October 10, 2021


Stampede of Speed - Texas NHRA FallNationals logo

The first round of PRO eliminations at the Texas NHRA FallNationals have just finished at the Texas Motorplex. In Top Fuel, the top five contenders for the title all advanced and kept the pressure on points leader Steve Torrence. He's now just 31 points in front of #2 Brittany Force, but 128 points ahead of #3 Mike Salinas. The next two cars on the list (Billy Torrence & Justin Ashley) are just a few points in arrears, but when you get down to #6, the gap from there to the top is nearly 180 points. With just three races left on the schedule after today, that's a very tall mountain to climb.

Funny Car saw the top seven racers in the standings advance to the second round. While the #7 driver (Robert Hight) is 148 points behind the leader, Matt Hagan, the gap between the top four is less than 100 points. In second place at the moment is Ron Capps, sitting just 53 points in arrears, with John Force lurking just 22 points further back.

Pro Stock featured the narrowest margin between season-long points leader Greg Anderson, and his closest challenger, Erica Enders, who is only 21 points behind; barely one round win. From there, the gaps widen considerably, with #3 (Kyle "Kid Chaos" Koretsky) more than 100 points behind Anderson, and from there, the margins get wider and wider. Going into eliminations the #5 driver (Aaron Stanfield) sat 176 points behind Anderson, and next on the list #6 (Troy Coughlin Jr.) was more than 200 points back. Not mathematically eliminated yet, but it's getting closer all the time for the trailing drivers.

The final PRO category, Pro Stock Motorcycle, featured a very close battle for the points lead, with just 53 points separating the top four. Leading the pack going into eliminations was Steve Johnson, ahead of his closest challenger, Angelle Sampey, by just 25 points. Lurking just seven points further back was defending champion Matt Smith, with Eddie Krawiec just 21 points behind him. When the first round finished, only five of the countdown riders had advanced, with the top three (Steve Johnson, Angelle Sampey & Matt Smith) all moving forward. The #5 rider, Scotty Pollahceck stayed in the championship chase with his round win, but he's still 111 points behind Johnson. After him, no one else, other than possibly Angie Smith, who is 166 points out of first place, has a chance to contend.

It's all but over in the Top Alcohol Dragster championship, as perennial contender (#2 for four years running!) Shawn Cowie lost in the second round of eliminations yesterday to the "MPH King" Aaron Cooper. The window of opportunity for Cowie to close the points gap on leader Rachel Meyer was opened when Rachel and team-mate Julie Nataas both lost early in the second round, but it all came undone for Cowie when he shook/smoked the tires at the 300' mark. Cooper backed up his world record speed for an A/Fuel Dragster (set in qualifying on Friday at 286.62) with an almost as good 285.89 pass as he ran away from a shutoff Cowie. At this point the only racer with a mathematical chance of catching Meyer is #2 Jackie Fricke. "ALL" she has to do is win the FallNationls and the next event on the Top Alcohol calendar, Las Vegas, and she would become the champion by ONE point. Impossible? NO! Likely? NO!

It's a very different story in Top Alcohol Funny Car, as the points chase has come down to a two-way battle between defending champion Doug Gordon, and current points leader, (and multi-time series champion) Greg Bellemeur. With Bellemeur not in attendance at the Motorplex, Gordon mowed down his first two opponents in eliminations, and if he wins the event - which is not at all guaranteed due to a very tight and competitive field - will move into a 11 point lead going into the final two races of the season. He's entered both events, while Bellemeur has put in his entry for Las Vegas. That could be quite an event, especially if they meet head-to-head at some point in eliminations.

12:00 PM PDT Update:

The Top Fuel points race tightened up near the top, as the top three racers (Steve Torrence, Brittany Force & Justin Ashley) all advanced to the semi-finals. That group saw one new face (Justin Ashley) as he leapfrogged over the former #3 (Mike Salinas) as Ashley won and Salinas lost in the 2nd round of eliminations. In fact, the only other racer to enter the semi-finals is Josh Hart, who, while he didn't get into the countdown (due to running only half the schedule), is capable of winning at any time. Two racers that saw their championship hopes fade in the round were the (current) #4 Mike Salinas and #5 Billy Torrence, both of whom are about 150 points behind the leader.

Over in Funny Car, the biggest change was John Force being passed by Cruz Pedregon for the #3 spot. It's been quite a turnaround year for Pedregon as for the first time in quite a few years he's become a serious contender and going into the semi-finals he's only 94 points out of first place. Another racer who's still solidly in the hunt is former champion (2018) J.R. Todd, who sits in the #5 spot, 114 points behind #1 Matt Hagan. Two second round losers, Bob Tasca III and Robert Hight are falling back but still have a chance to make up the 138 and 168 point (respectively) gap to #1. However, it's going to take some losses by Hagan and lots of win lights for everyone else to change the standings.

There were some relatively large changes in the points standings in Pro Stock during the second round. #2 in points Erica Enders and #3 Dallas Glenn both lost in the round, which gave Greg Anderson some breathing room at the top of the heap. He can take full advantage of those losses by winning the event and really putting some serious space between him and the other contenders. Going into the semi-finals, Anderson is only 41 points in front of Enders, but 143 ahead of Glenn, and 146 in front of #4 Kyle Koretsky. The next three racers on the table all advanced to the semis, but they trail Anderson by 176, 206 & 222 points respectively. Not quite eliminated from the chase, but getting closer all the time.

Closing out the second round of PRO eliminations were, as usual, the motorcycles and they didn't disappoint as points leader Steve Johnson advanced, Angelle Sampey didn't, and defending champion Matt Smith took advantage of her loss and took the #2 rung on the ladder, just 32 points behind Johnson. In the semi-finals Smith will be racing..... Smith, as in his wife Angie Smith. He's got lane choice and really needs to win that round to keep pace with Johnson. All I'll say about that matchup is that it should be "interesting".

The semi-finals will see the top three racers in Top Fuel, plus Josh Hart, while Funny Car will feature four of the top five drivers. In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson only has the #5 through #7 racers to contend with, and if he wins the event will take a commanding lead in the standings. In Pro Bike, the top two riders, Steve Johnson and Matt Smith, will race, along with #7 (Angie Smith) and in a cameo appearance, Hector Arana Jr..

2:30 PM PDT Update:

The semi-final rounds saw two very close races in Top Fuel, with points leader Steve Torrence prevailing over Brittany Force by just .007 seconds. Joining him in the final round is Justin Ashley, who won his race by a "much" larger margin: .018 seconds. Making the win even sweeter for Ashley was gaining lane choice over Torrence for the final. In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon's march to the top was halted by a Ron Capps holeshot and Matt Hagan booked his ticket to the final by taking out a double-stepping J.R. Todd. Pro Stock saw Greg Anderson move into his 8th final round (out of 15 events) this year, facing Chris McGaha who has climbed from 10th two races ago, to 8th, and now to 6th place in the standings. However, he's still 222 points behind Anderson going into the final round.

The only upset - and it was a big one - in the semi-finals was the failure to fire of points leader Steve Johnson. He could watch in chagrin as darkhorse Hector Arana Jr. bogged off the line and could only put down a 7.06 e.t. to go into the final round. Joining him there will be Matt Smith, who did the expected and dispatched his wife Angie in an easy pass. He left second but finished first when Angie's bike also bogged off the line.

Before the PRO finals ran, the Top Alcohol cars finished off their event. First up were the dragsters and it was a tension-filled match, with Jackie Fricke needing to win to keep her championship hopes alive. She did her job at both ends of the track, leaving first and running her best e.t. of the event, a winning 5.204- 275.73 to cover Matt Cummings close 5.240 - 271.79 effort. The funny cars ran next, with two west coast racers going for the win. Needing it more was defending national champion, Doug Gordon, and he took the win over Brian Hough by a to 5.562 - 262.69 decision. Hough did everything he could, leaving first with an .015 light, just a bit ahead of Gordon's very good .044 launch, but at the finish line it was less than half a car length between the racers. With the win, Doug Gordon moved into the #1 spot in the standings, 11 points in front of arch-rival Greg Bellemeur.

It should be mentioned that the reason for Bellemeur's non-attendance at this race was a HUGE engine explosion at last week's Mid-West Drag Racing Series event at Tulsa, OK. The "Killer B's" (Bellemeur, Boggs & Bartone) will be in Las Vegas in two weeks time to try to take the lead back, and will almost certainly be at Pomona for the season-ending race. We will post the updated points standings later today and explain what the various championship scenarios are, with just two national and one regional event left in the 2021 NHRA season.

4:00 PM PDT Update:

The final rounds have all been completed and they featured some very close racing, a small upset, and a pair of expected victories. Starting with Pro Stock Motorcycle, the prohibitive favourite, Matt Smith did the expected by defeating Hector Arana Jr., but it was an automatic win for Smith when Arana redlighted. It wasn't needed as Smith outran his opponent also, and with the win, moved into the points lead over Steve Johnson by just eight points. Despite her second round loss, Angelle Sampey stayed with striking distance of Smith, trailing him by just 53 points heading into the final three races of the year.

In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson won as expected, and it was also via redlight, as Chris McGaha took a run at the tree and went -.014 red, handing the win to Anderson. Making it extra special for Anderson was it being his 98th career national event win, breaking a tie with his former employer Warren Johnson, to become the all-time winningest driver in Pro Stock history. Quite an accomplishment, and the points earned moved him 81 in front of #2 Erica Enders. Losing in the 2nd round cost #3 Dallas Glenn as he fell 183 points behind Anderson, and in serious jeopardy of falling out of the championship battle.

Funny Car pitted the number one and two racers in the points standings. Yes, at this time of the year, it's ALL about the points picture(s). DSR team-mates Matt Hagan and Ron Capps faced off and they put on a great side-by-side race. Capps turned on the winlight by less than half a car length as he won on a holeshot with a 3.930 - 326.87 against Hagan's quicker 3.919 - 328.78. Making the difference was Capps' .042 launch, just a hair quicker than Hagan's .065 leave. Despite the loss in the final, Matt Hagan hung onto the points lead, now holding just 27 points above Capps. Trailing Hagan in third place is Cruz Pedregon, now 114 points behind, and #4 John Force, just one point behind Pedrgeon.

Finally it was time for the... final pair of the final round of eliminations. Justin Ashley showed just how hungry he was for his first win of the season as he left with a great reaction time: .035 for BOTH racers. He put down a 3.759 - 326.40 to turn back Steve Torrence's oh-so-close 3.764 - 321.81 by just .005 second over the points leader and heavy favourite. With the win points, Ashley solidified his hold on the #3 spot, albeit 121 points adrift of Torrence, but only 70 behind #2 Brittany Force. Three races to go now, continuing next week at Bristol's iconic Thunder Valley Raceway.

AND NOW.... SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT....

Stephen Yantus - 'Karolina Kuda' - SS/AH

We've just started going through a large set of photos from Labor Day weekend's Dodge SRT// NHRA U.S. Nationals and here's one picture that stood out for so many good reasons. It's one of the famous '68 Barracuda Super Stock cars that make the Dodge/HEMI Challenge such an interesting event with an event. This year, 18 cars (4 Darts and 14 Barracudas), competed, and the car pictured here: The "Karolina Kuda" of South Carolina's Stephen Yantus. He qualified in the #2 position in the field, with a tremendous 8.480 - 156.64, just .05 behind the low qualifier.

Yantus picked up the pace in the first round of eliminations, running an even better 8.410 - 159.32 to move into the next round. Then he stayed consistent with a 8.423 - 158.97 to earn a bye run in the 3rd round. Another very good 8.426 - 159.19, moved him into semi-finals, where, unfortunately, he was a "no-show" due to breakage incurred during his bye run.


The latest update as of October 9, 2021


UNFC Southwest Nitro Shoot-Out poster

What if they held a drag race and no one was there to report on it, post it on social media, on a website, or put up the results on paper? Even worse, what if no one was there with a camera to make a photographic record of the event? Did that race actually exist? Or is it an event consigned to the dustbin of history, lost forever? That fate might have befallen the recent (three weeks ago) UNFC Southwest Nitro Shoot Out held at Tucson Dragway. Thankfully, our hard-working correspondent, BIG Bob Snyder was on hand to photograph the action and even provide us with some times and speeds to go with the photos.

While we're closely following the three NHRA events happening simultaneously today, we've got the Tucson photo processing underway and should have them all up later today. Stay tuned, but in the meantime, you can check out the Texas NHRA FallNationals, live and in colour, on NHRA.tv. Or, if you don't have a subscription to that streaming service, follow along on the NHRA.com website (on the home page, click on "Live Timing and Results") or keep refreshing the NHRA page on DragRaceCentral, as Rick Green keeps updating the results as fast as he can.

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' --- Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' (near lane) 
vs Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' (far lane)

(LEFT) Lighting up the tires before making his first pass of the evening, Tim Boychuk blew the dust off his seldom-seen (in the past few years) "Happy Hour" Camaro.

(RIGHT) A good looking pairing led off the United Nitro Funny Cars action, with Canada's Tim Boychuk in the near lane, outrunning the "Quarter Pounder" of Keith Clark and Dale Van Gundy (driven by Geoff Monise). The clocks stopped quickly for Boychuk as he cranked out a very good 5.999 despite an early shutoff 197.02 speed. Monise had to get out of it early, finally stopping the timers at 11.392 - 76.44.

James Day - 'Speed Sport' --- James Day - 'Speed Sport' (near lane) vs 
Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' (far lane)

(LEFT) The very photogenic "Speed Sport" Dodge Omni of James Day put down a solid burnout.

(RIGHT) With both cars launching hard, Day, in the near lane, started to pull away from the Camaro-bodied "Problem Child" of Billy Morris. And that was it for the first round of the UNFC (United Nitro Funny Cars) segment of the show. Next up: AA/Fuel Altereds! Eight of them! Stay tuned!


Robert Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose' --- Robert Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose' (near lane) 
vs Kevin Knowles - 'Neese & Knowles' (far lane)

(LEFT) Winner of the shortest tow (distance) award was the Phoenix-area team of Robert and Dylan Winefsky. They whipped their "Nitro Moose" through the burnout procedure before their first round match.

(RIGHT) When the ambers flashed, Winefsky (near lane) left first and easily pulled away from Kevin Knowles (far lane) in the "Neese & Knowles" entry.

Ray Stringer - 'Blown Cent-Less' --- Paula Martin - 'Sheepherder'

(LEFT) The first pair of AA/Fuel Altereds featured Ray Stringer in his "Blown Cent-Less" car, which is actually his Funny Car Chaos car with the body switched to an altered. He got the tires spinning hard on the burnout before his first pass.

(RIGHT) Appearing to be running by herself, Paula Martin behind the wheel of John Aleman's iconic "Sheepherder" AA/FA, is actually late leaving as Ray Stringer's car is almost out of the frame as Paula goes by the tree.

Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' --- Johnny West - 'Plan A' (near lane) vs 
Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' (far lane)

(LEFT) Albuquerque's Lyle Greenberg took the flopper body off and switched to an altered for this event, still running the "Cone Hunter" name.

(RIGHT) Ageless veteran Johnny West brought out his classic-looking "Plan A" '23-T (near lane) and left first against Lyle Greenberg in the far lane. It was a close race to the finish line, with West tripping the winlight with a very good 6.395 - 217.91 pass. A quicker pass of 6.342 - 211.06 wasn't quite quick enough for Greenberg to overcome West's holeshot.

Eric Gates - 'Agent Orange' --- Eric Gates - 'Agent Orange' (near lane) 
vs Jim Maroney - 'Family Legacy' (far lane)

(LEFT) Warming up the tires in a hurry is Eric Gates in his "Agent Orange" car, winner of this year's Good Vibrations March Meet.

(RIGHT) After an even launch, the "Family Legacy" car of Jim Maroney (far lane) pulled away to a convincing win, with a 6.760 - 197.77 over a trailing 10.63 - 74.79 pass by Eric Gates.

Billy Morris - 'Problem Child' (near lane) 
vs Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' (far lane) --- Scoreboards

(LEFT) Leaving first by a solid margin was Billy Morris (near lane) as he opened the second round of Nitro Funny Car against Tim Boychuk, in the far lane. That quicker reaction time of Morris made the outcome of the race closer than the e.t.'s would suggest.

(RIGHT) The scoreboards lit up with the first side-by-side funny car passes of the evening, with Boychuk turning on the winlight with a very strong 5.755 - 240.65 that covered Morris's competitive, but second best 5.971 - 236.68 time.

Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' (near lane) 
vs James Day - 'Speed Sport' (far lane)

(LEFT) Laying down a solid burnout before his second pass was Geoff Monise in the Quarter-Pounder Camaro.

(RIGHT) It looks like an even launch as Monise (near lane) leaves with James Day in the Speed Sport Omni, but at the finish line, it wasn't even close as Day put up a winning 6.159 - 230.25 to easily handle Monise's early shutoff 6.911 - 140.40 effort.

Johnny West - 'Plan A' --- Jim Maroney - 'Family Legacy'

Before they met in the next match, Johnny West (left) and Jim Maroney (right) performed their ritual burnouts.

Johnny West - 'Plan A' (near lane) vs 
Jim Maroney - 'Family Legacy' (far lane)

With flames flickering high out of the pipes, the "Family Legacy" 23-T Ford of Jim Maroney (far lane) launched against the senior statesman of the class, Johnny 'Plan A' West (near lane).

Eric Gates - 'Agent Orange' (near lane) vs 
Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' (far lane) --- Eric Gates - 'Agent Orange' (near lane) vs 
Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' (far lane)

(LEFT) A good side-by-side launch saw Lyle Greenberg (far lane) leaving just ahead of Eric Gates and his "Agent Orange"-mobile in the near lane.

(RIGHT) The scoreboards told the tale, as Lyle Greenberg put on the WINlight by a wide margin, as his 6.133 - 227.65 easily covered Eric Gates' sub-par 8.096 - 110.22 clocking.

Robert Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose' --- Robert Winefsky - 'Nitro Moose'

Two views of Robert Winefsky in this pair; burning out on the left and launching the "Nitro Moose" hard on the right.

Paula Martin - 'Sheepeherder' --- Paula Martin - 'Sheepeherder'

Paula Martin - 'Sheepeherder' (near lane) 
vs Kevin Knowles - 'Neesen & Knowles'

Lots of "Sheepherder" pictures here, starting with a hard burnout (upper left), moving into the stage lights (upper right), and finally, leaving late against Kevin Knowles in the far lane.

Tim Boychuk - 'Happy Hour' (near lane) vs 
James Day - 'Speed Sport' (far lane) --- The 'Happy Hour' crew

(LEFT) Leaving first and running away with the win was Tim Boychuk (near lane), as his 5.829 - 243.50 easily covered James Day's slowing 7.226 - 130.30 pass. Boychuk's 243.50 mph speed was tops of the night.

(RIGHT) Obviously pleased with the result, Boychuk's "Happy Hour" team celebrated on the starting line.

Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' --- Lyle Greenberg - 'Cone Hunter' (near lane) 
vs Johnny West - 'Plan A' (far lane)

(LEFT) Igniting the hides before the final pass of the evening, New Mexico's Lyle Greenberg makes some noise and smoke.

(RIGHT) Showing that he's got the "Plan A" dialled in, Johnny West turned on the winlight in the final pairing of the evening. It was close on the scoreboards, but West's 6.191 - 226.73 was just enough to cover Lyle Greenberg's very close 6.230 - 204.32 clocking.

'Blown Cent-Less' team thrashing

"Relaxing" in the pits, with the motor down to the bare block, the "Blown Cent-Less" team of Ray Stringer is still smiling even though it wasn't the most successful race night for them. And that's a wrap for our coverage of the Tucson Dragway Reunion, featuring the United Nitro Funny Cars and a select group of real blown fuel altereds.


The latest update as of October 7, 2021


It's been way too long between updates, but we'll try to fill in the blanks as we go along. After last weekend's NHRA regional event at Global Technology Raceway (Madison, IL), the Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars are down to just three more regional and three more national events on the calendar. To complicate matters, three of those six races are occurring this weekend, starting today at The Strip at Las Vegas (West Regional), tomorrow at Dallas (Ennis) (National event), and Saturday at the East Regional at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, MD. We won't know which drivers are competing at the regional events until qualifying results come in, but we do know there's 17 dragsters and 10 funny cars entered for the Texas NHRA FallNationals.

Making it a very tough field in Top Alcohol Dragster is that eight of the Top Ten drivers are entered, and on the Funny Car side, five of the top ten runners are will be in attendance. For the dragsters, it's 14 injected nitro cars versus three blown alcohol entries. Traditionally, conditions at the Texas Motorplex have favoured the nitro burners, as the two quickest blown cars in the field, Shawn Cowie and Joey Severance, have a mixed record at the track. Severance did win the 2018 event, and Cowie was runner-up in 2016, but other than that it's been more round one losses than wins for those two hard charging, high-revving racers.

With the National Championship picture coming into clear focus, the pressure will be on Cowie to stay in the hunt, as he's trailing the current points leader, Rachel Meyer by 119 points. It's a large gap, but as can be seen by the graphic further down the page, it's not quite insurmountable. Only one other competitor, currently in 2nd place, Jackie Fricke, who has an almost impossible path to the championship, as she needs to win both the Dallas and Las Vegas national events, and have Meyer lose in the semi-finals (or earlier) at Dallas.

Below Cowie (currently in 3rd place), everyone else in the dragster top ten has been mathematically eliminated from contention for the title. However, five of those drivers will be trying their best to upset the top three racers and claim the event victory. It will be a very interesting race with hot weather in the forecast, with a high of 93 (F) forecast for tomorrow and Saturday, before dropping to 84 (F) - with some cloud cover - on Sunday. Generally, the hotter the air and track temps, the more it plays into the favour of the blown cars, but the Meyer team has lots of experience at the Motorplex and can be expected to lay down the best e.t.'s and quite possibly wrap up the championship this weekend.

Besides the aforementioned "hitters" there are some incredibly quick A/Fuel cars coming to the Motorplex. Rachel Meyer's team-mate, Julie Nataas sits in the 4th spot in the standings, with three regional wins, but only a quartet of semi-final finishes in national events. She can run with the best though as she has the quickest (5.103) e.t. of the year in Top Alcohol. By comparison, Rachel has "only" a 5.141 to her credit. Two other competitors, #7 in points, Matt Cummings (driving the McPhillips family car, has a best of 5.123 at the recent Dewalt NHRA Carolina Nationals, while #10 in the standings, Robin Samsel is right behind with a season/career best 5.139 clocking. And just a half a tick behind Samsel, are Jackie Fricke (#2) on the table, and Karen Stalba (#5) are tied with identical bests of 5.147.

Contrasting all those super-quick e.t.'s from the injected nitro ranks, are the, unfortunately few, drivers still running supercharged on methanol. The season's quickest is Shawn Cowie, well ahead of all the other blown cars, with a best of 5.178, at the Seattle (West Regional), followed up with back-to-back 5.18's at the Brainered national event. Not one other supercharged has run in the 5-teens, with Joey Severance's 5.232, being nearly half a tenth quicker than James Stevens 5.278 quickest effort. Looking through the archives yields the information that Severance's career best is 5.121 (in 2019), the quickest ever Top Alcohol Dragster pass in history. Right behind, as could be expected, is Shawn Cowie, with a best of 5.151 (also in 2019).

All of the racers mentioned above will be at Dallas this weekend, with the exception of Karen Stalba, who is most likely finished on the national tour this year. It's very possible that everyone may better their season and in some cases, career best e.t.'s. Stay tuned; it's going to be quite a weekend of drag racing.

NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

TAD Top Ten standings - October 3, 2021

Here's a quick explanation of what the graphic means. Each racer is allowed to attend 10 national and 5 regional events and claim points from their best 7 national and 3 regional events. There is nothing stopping a racer from attending more races, but once they've reached their "10 and 5" quotas, their points earning ability is over. To condense the amount of space the graphic takes up on the page, I've eliminated the event locations and simply numbered them 1 - 10 and 1 - 5. Points in red are ones that have been waived, fields with a yellow background are events that have been entered (D = Dallas, LV = Las Vegas, P = Pomona). Fields with a red background are ones that the racer cannot attend before the season ends.

To make sense of all the possible points scenarios, here's the simple (as simple as I can make it) explanation. Points leader Rachel Meyer has a solid lead over her two challengers (remember, everyone else is already eliminated from title contention). However, she has only the Dallas event left to claim points, while Jackie Fricke has Dallas and Las Vegas, and Shawn Cowie has Dallas, plus, presumably, Las Vegas and Pomona left on his schedule.

If Meyer wins this weekend, then the championship is hers. That's the simplest scenario. But if she advances to the final found and loses to Shawn Cowie, then he has the very, very slim chance to wrest the championship away from her. All he would have to do then is win both Las Vegas and Pomona to take it. He could possibly - because the NHRA website does not spell out tiebreaking procedures - take the title with a win at Dallas and a win and a runner-up at the two remaining events. Before we even consider that happening, and it's effect on the points, let's take it one run and one round at a time.


TAFC Top Ten standings - October 3, 2021

In the Funny Car points battle it's come down to a head-to-head battle between defending national champion Doug Gordon and the current points leader, Sean Bellemeur. Going into this weekend, everyone below them in the standings is already mathematically eliminated from championship contention. It is somewhat surprising that Bellemeur isn't racing this weekend at Dallas, but he does hold the advantage as the season winds down. Interestingly, they both have four national event wins, one runner-up and two semi-finals to their credit. The 21-point difference in the standings is due to Bellemeur's "perfect" three win record in regional events, versus Gordon's two wins and a runner-up.

With Bellemeur's non-attendance at Dallas, the window of opportunity for Gordon to win back-to-back championships is a definite possibility. However, there are some very serious players entered this weekend, with Bob McCosh, Kris Hool, Nick Januik and Brian Hough all in the field. Anyone of them can run with the BETA Motorcycles team, as all of them have run in the 5.40's this year, and with the extra track prep at the Motorplex, it could be a true battle royale.


The latest update as of September 15, 2021


It's been too long since the last update here, and another big race weekend has slipped by, with the next one just around the corner. And on and on it goes until the end of the NHRA drag racing season at Pomona on November 14.... just two months from now.

The latest update as of September 8, 2021


Mokan Dragway - Funny Car Chaos 2021

We've got all the photos posted from Mo-Kan Dragways 55th annual "Decade of Wheels" event that ran last weekend, but we're going to take another day to get all the captions and e.t.s/speeds to go with them. We'll start on it this evening, but as with all things at Northern Thunder, it's going to take some time. Complicating that task is the raft of the photos from the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals which just arrived in the old in-box. Just six dozen of them to go through from Friday's qualifying, then later in the week, Sunday's eliminations batch. Then before we have a chance to take a deep breath, the NHRA West Regional from Phoenix's Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is running this coming weekend, and yes, we've got our SouthWest correspondent, BIG Bob Snyder on hand to capture all the action with his trusty Nikon.


"A" Field - Round #1 Eliminations


Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' 
(near lane) vs Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (far lane0 --- Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' 
(near lane) vs Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Newkirk --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' 
(near lane) vs Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' 
(near lane) vs Bob Alberty Jr. - 'Thunderin' Okie' (far lane)


"B" Field - Round #1 Eliminations


Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' 
(near lane) vs Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War' (far lane) --- Anthony Whitfield - 'Mighty Mouse' 
(near lane) vs Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' 
(near lane) vs Rick Wilson - 'UFO' (far lane) --- Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' 
(near lane) vs Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


"C" Field - Round #1 Eliminations


Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' 
(near lane) vs Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' (far lane) --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' 
(near lane) vs Jeff Krug - 'Obsession' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Tammy Gatlin - 'Lone Star 
Lightning' - Jet Dragster (near lane) vs Paul Sieli - 'Mustang Sally' - Jet Funny Car (far lane) --- Dirty South Gassers -

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Semi-Finals


Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' --- Kirk Williams - '200 Proof'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' 
(near lane) vs Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Final Rounds


C Final - Jade Cook (near lane) vs Chris Schneider 
(far lane)

Continuing her strong run of success in an amazing rookie year on the FCC circuit, Jade Cook (near lane) in her aptly named "Nemesis" took the win over veteran Chris Schneider (far lane) in the Mustang-bodied "Brutus" entry. We haven't seen any of the round sheets yet but Cook's second win of the season, along with two runner-ups may have moved her all the way up the ladder to the #3 position, from the #7 spot she occupied before this event

B Final - Shayne Lawson (near lane) vs Keith Jackson 
(far lane)

Finally breaking through for his first win (and first final round) of the season, Shayne Lawson (near lane) in the iconic "Man O' War" Mustang, took the win over the high-country Camaro of the Jackson family, the "High Heaven", wheeled by Keith Jackson. Lawson has most likely moved up two spots in the standings, from his #10 position coming into the weekend

A Final - Ken Singleton (near lane) vs Kirk Williams 
(far lane)

The final race of the night, for the BIG bucks and trophy featured the #1 and #2 racers in the FCC world, with Ken Singleton (near lane) in his very familiar (in almost every final round) "High Risk" entry, facing his toughest opponent all season, Kirk Williams (far lane) in the "Williams Bros. Racing" car, and they put on another great battle that saw the winlight come on in Singleton's lane. In his sixth consecutive final round, Singleton notched his fourth win of the year and lengthened the points lead over his very worthy opposition. Williams took his third runner-up of the year in his fifth final round


WINNERS Circle


Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' 
'C' Field WINNER --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' 
'C' Field - Runner-Up

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War' 
'B' Field - WINNER --- Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' 
'B' Field - Runner-Up

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' 
'A' Field- WINNER --- Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' 
'A' Field - Runner-Up

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


The latest update as of September 7, 2021


We've got the photos from the FUNNY CAR CHAOS event at Mo-Kan Dragway on Saturday. Due to a rain-out on Friday, qualifying was downsized to two sessions, at noon and 2:00 pm, then eliminations got going at 5:00 pm and continued through until the finals around 10:00 pm. Of the 37 racers pre-entered, 34 made at least one qualifying attempt before the fields (A, B, & C) were set for eliminations. Here's the photos from the first qualifying session, with captions to follow this evening. Then tomorrow it will be the eliminations coverage, which unfortunately - to this time of writing - is lacking any e.t.'s or speeds. We can guess at some of the winners and losers in the rounds but until we can see the round by round sheets, we'll just have to make some "educated" guesses as to what happened before the final rounds. Those pictures and details are posted further down the page.


Mokan Dragway - Funny Car Chaos 2021

Qualifying Session #1


Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' --- Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude'

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' --- Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' - 201.16

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' --- BUG - BackUp Girl training school

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' --- John Umlauf - 'Mass Chaos'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' --- Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' --- Antohony Whitfield - 'Mighty Mouse'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Clay Cunningham - 'Still Crazy' --- Robin Rish - 'Blown Retirement'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Bob Alberty Jr. - 'Thunderin' Okie' --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeff Krug - 'Obsession' --- Tod Barker - 'Back in Black'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' --- Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop'

Alex Barker - 'Back in Black' --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Kris Battey - 'Batmobile' --- Tom Furches - 'Made in America'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tammy Gatlin - 'Lone Star Lightning' 
- Jet Dragster (near lane) vs Paul Sieli - 'Mustang Sally' - Jet Funny Car (far lane)


Qualifying Session #2 (FINAL)


Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' (near lane) 
vs Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down a Dream' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (near 
lane) vs Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (far lane) --- Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' (near lane) 
vs Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (near lane) 
vs Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' --- Robin Rish - 'Blown Retirement'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Shane Blanton - 'Bad Company' --- Bob Alberty Jr. - 'Thunderin' Okie'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

Tom Furches - 'Made in America'


The latest update as of September 5, 2021


It's been a rainy weekend at both venues we're following: Friday was a complete rainout at Mo-Kan Dragway for the Funny Car Chaos event, and yesterday saw the rain come in early (and stay late) at Indianapolis, wiping out the final two qualifying sessions for the PRO cars and forcing many of the sportsman eliminators (including Top Alcohol) into a condensed and hurried schedule today. Thankfully, the rain didn't affect qualifying and eliminations yesterday for the FCC crew, as they managed to get in two rounds of qualifying and all three rounds of eliminations, making for a very long day and night for the racers.

Conditions at Indianapolis for the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals are much better this morning as the first round of PRO eliminations is well underway but there is a serious problem with the track, specifically the right lane. In the first round of Top Fuel and Funny Car, not a single car won in that lane. However, despite most of the wins in Pro Stock coming from the left lane, several racers did record competitive times on the dreaded right side of the track. It will be interesting to see what happens when the higher qualified cars come out for the second round of TF and FC racing. Stay tuned!

12:30 PM (EDT) Update:     Without specifically admitting that the right lane is - to put it politely - "junk" - NHRA is doing a complete track re-prep before the second round of PRO and Top Alcohol eliminations. With the large amount of rain that fell on the track yesterday, there may be water under the surface trying to percolate through the track at the transition point (approx. 300' off the starting line) in the right lane. We'll see if the work that's currently underway will solve the problem, or if we'll be back to what happened so often in the old days, a one-lane race track. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we've got the first pictures from Funny Car Chaos, featuring the final rounds. Much more to come tomorrow and Tuesday. We're still waiting to see the e.t.'s and speeds, but we do know who won (and lost).

Mokan Dragway - Funny Car Chaos 2021


C Final - Jade Cook (near lane) vs Chris Schneider 
(far lane)

Continuing her strong run of success in an amazing rookie year on the FCC circuit, Jade Cook (near lane) in her aptly named "Nemesis" took the win over veteran Chris Schneider (far lane) in the Mustang-bodied "Brutus" entry. We haven't seen any of the round sheets yet but Cook's second win of the season, along with two runner-ups may have moved her all the way up the ladder to the #3 position, from the #7 spot she occupied before this event

B Final - Shayne Lawson (near lane) vs Keith Jackson 
(far lane)

Finally breaking through for his first win (and first final round) of the season, Shayne Lawson (near lane) in the iconic "Man O' War" Mustang, took the win over the high-country Camaro of the Jackson family, the "High Heaven", wheeled by Keith Jackson. Lawson has most likely moved up two spots in the standings, from his #10 position coming into the weekend

A Final - Ken Singleton (near lane) vs Kirk Williams 
(far lane)

The final race of the night, for the BIG bucks and trophy featured the #1 and #2 racers in the FCC world, with Ken Singleton (near lane) in his very familiar (in almost every final round) "High Risk" entry, facing his toughest opponent all season, Kirk Williams (far lane) in the "Williams Bros. Racing" car, and they put on another great battle that saw the winlight come on in Singleton's lane. In his sixth consecutive final round, Singleton notched his fourth win of the year and lengthened the points lead over his very worthy opposition. Williams took his third runner-up of the year in his fifth final round

The FUNNY CAR CHAOS points system has a "drop" race system, whereby a racer can waive their lowest points earning race from their season total before the final points standings are determined. If a racer doesn't attend a race, that event becomes their drop race, which helps lower budget racers who can't afford to travel to every race, especially ones far from home. Only one racer in the Top Ten has skipped an event this year, that being Jade Cook and she is currently looking good for at least a Top Five finish. With only the World Finals remaining on the calendar, at San Antonio's Alamo City Motorplex on October 1-2, it's going to be quite a battle for the final placings in the season's points standings.


The latest update as of August 30, 2021


Unless you've got some seriously magnifying spectacles, the tables below are almost impossible to read. So just click on the images and see them in a much larger, and much easier to read format.

NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings - August 30, 2021


TAFC National Points Standings - August 30, 2021


The latest update as of August 26, 2021


It's been a busy couple of weeks in the drag racing world and we've got some serious catching up ahead of us. Let's get started by showing the latest updated points standings for the NHRA Top Alcohol classes, following the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd, MN last weekend. There was also an Eastern Region event at Epping, NH's iconic New England Dragway, but the final rounds were rained out and won't be completed until mid-September (TAD) and a TBD date (TAFC). Hence, the points highlighted in yellow on the spreadsheets below, which indicates the points have not been awarded yet, nor the event counted towards their maximum allowed.

NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings - August 22, 2021

What a difference a few weeks can make, and in Shawn Cowie's case, it wasn't the best of times. Following his big win - over a very small field - at the much-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals on August 1st, it's been all downhill for him since then. Going into the next event on the NHRA national event calendar, the Menards NHRA Nationals at Topeka, Cowie was tied with Rachel Meyer for the points lead. At a regional event (Great Bend, KS) on the weekend following the Winternationals, Meyer opened up a big lead (85 points) as she won the event.

Then Cowie's first round loss at Topeka, coupled with Meyer's event win, put him 139 points behind in the championship chase. Last weekend, at Brainerd, Shawn had a golden opporunity to close the gap as he met Meyer in the second round of eliminations, but an oh-so-close loss (5.178 - 281.01 to 5.188 - 279.85) that saw a margin of just two feet at the finish line, put an end to his weekend. Despite Meyer losing to eventual event winner Rich McPhillips Jr. in the semi-finals, her lead over Cowie grew to 150 points going into this coming weekend. (More on that later).

A few other racers made moves, both up and down the charts, with McPhillips jumping from #12 all the way to #8 for his first venture into the Top Ten this season. Multi-time national champion (four so far) Joey Severance continued his climb up the ladder with a runner-up finish to move into #5, pushing Jianna Salinas down one notch to #6. Two racers who have at least runner-up points in limbo, Jackie Fricke (#4) and Karen Stalba (#11) will have to wait until the in September to be able to count those points and presumably move up in the standings.


TAFC National Points Standings - August 22, 2021

In sharp contrast with all the moves in the dragster standings, the two racers at the top of the TAFC charts, Sean Bellemeur and Doug Gordon didn't compete and didn't see their lead(s) threatened. Even though the #3 racer, Bob McCosh Jr. was runnerup at Brainered, he only closed the gap to 79 points, and both Bellemeur and Gordon have a race or two in hand over McCosh. The biggest move was by #6 Kyle Smith who continued his hot streak, taking his third event win in his last four outings, and continued his climb to the top half of the Top Ten.

Due to the incomplete eliminations at Epping, #5 D. J. Cox Jr. (who has earned at least 64 points at that race) was unable to advance and challenge Kris Hool for the #4 position, but when the Epping final round is run, he could well be in a position to challenge for at least the #3 spot in the final standings. There weren't any moves in the current standings as only THREE, yes THREE Top Alcohol Funny Cars competed at Brainerd, following a 9-car field at Topeka. And the Eastern regional event had just four entries.

One reason for the short fields can be traced to the BIG prize money being offered in the Mid-West Drag Racing Series this year. With $10,000 to win (for an 8-car field) and a further $1,000 for low qualifier, it's tempting for racers to skip the NHRA events when there's an MWDRS race on the same date. Instead of going to Brainerd, Sean Bellemeur, Chris Marshall, Annie Whiteley, and some lower ranked - but serious competitors - Bill Bernard, Mark Billington, and Bryan Brown (all of whom compete regularly at NHRA regional and national events) went to Great Bend, KS to race. Bellemeur currently leads the MWDRS points standings, and all of the racers listed above (except Billington) have attended all three of the Mid-West events contested in 2021.

Finally, for all the Top Alcohol racers, there are not one, not two, but three regional events on tap this coming weekend, with the postponed Eastern regional at Reading, PA, the North Central regional at Bowling Green, KY, and the Western regional at Acton, MT, all happening simulataneously. While racer turnouts at the regional level have been mostly on the small side, and with the U.S. Nationals taking place next weekend, there will almost certainly be short fields at most, if not all, the venues running this week. However, those valuable Lucas Oil points are available for those competing and we're getting to the point in the season where every race could have an effect on the final standings.

We'll do our best to keep you updated throughout the weekend, but with a pair of big birthday parties tomorrow and Saturday and a neighbourhood pot-luck party on Sunday... it might be Monday-ish before we can get all the points updates done. Stay tuned!


The latest update as of August 21, 2021


We've finally got all the photos from the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals posted... unless some more arrive in the inbox, but we've still got quite a few captions to write and fill in the details for some of the later additions to the photo coverage. With lots of racing action taking place this weekend, there won't be enough time to get it all done but stay tuned for all the latest updates to this page. Scroll down the page for the first round Top Fuel & Funny Car photos, and further down for the qualifying coverage.


PRO STOCK - Round #1 Eliminations


PRO - Deric Kramer (near lane) vs Chris McGaha (far 
lane) --- PRO - Aaron Strong

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

PRO - Aaron Stanfield --- PRO - Dallas Glenn (near lane) vs Kyle Koretsky (far 
lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

PRO - Greg Anderson --- PRO - Troy Coughlin Jr.

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - Round #1 Eliminations


PSM - Matt Smith --- PSM - Angie Smith

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP FUEL - Round #2 Eliminations


TF - Leah Pruett --- TF - Mike Salinas (near lane) vs Clay Millican 
(far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

TF - Shawn Langdon (near lane) vs Antron Brown (far 
lane) --- TF - Shawn Langdon (near lane) vs Antron Brown (far 
lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


FUNNY CAR - Round #2 Eliminations


FC - Bob Tasca III --- FC - Bob Tasca III


PRO STOCK - Round #2 Eliminations


PRO - Aaron Stanfield (near lane) vs Deric Kramer 
(far lane) --- PRO - Erica Enders (near lane) vs Aaron Strong (far 
lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)

PRO - Troy Coughlin Jr. (near lane) vs Kyle Koretsky
(far lane) --- PRO - Greg Anderson

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE- Round #2 Eliminations


PSM - Matt Smith --- PSM - Eddie Krawiec

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


TOP FUEL - Round #3 Eliminations


TF - Antron Brown --- TF - Antron Brown

TF - Leah Pruett --- TF - Leah Pruett


FUNNY CAR - Round #3 Eliminations


FC - Ron Capps


PRO STOCK - Round #3 Eliminations


PRO - Erica Enders (near lane) vs Aaron Stanfield 
(far lane)


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - Final Round Eliminations


TAD - Joey Severance (near lane) vs Shawn Cowie 
(far lane) --- TAD - Joey Severance (near lane) vs Shawn Cowie 
(far lane)


FUNNY CAR - Final Round Eliminations


FC - Ron Capps


TOP FUEL - Final Round Eliminations


TF - Leah Pruett --- TF - Leah Pruett


The latest update as of August 19, 2021


We're just starting to work on the Sunday (eliminations day) photos from the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals and will start posting them this afternoon and hope to have them all up and captioned by tomorrow. Keep refreshing this page to see the latest updates and stay tuned for our coverage of the NHRA Eastern Regional (Epping, NH) and the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (Brainerd, MN) over the weekend.

Today's photos from eliminations were taken from a different vantage point as ace lensman Bill Jeffery moved down to the 1000' mark to capture the chutes coming out and engine eruptions as the cars were at maximum speed.


Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals logo --- NHRA Flags flying over Auto Club Raceway --- Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals logo


TOP FUEL - Round #1 Eliminations


TF - Clay Millican --- TF - Shawn Langdon

(LEFT) As the last strains of the national anthem faded into the bedlam of a pair of Top Fuel engines coming to life, the first pair of the day prepared to roll through the water and commence their ritual tire heating exercise. First out was Clay Millican in the "Parts Plus" car, paired with Doug Kalitta (not shown) and it was a good news-bad news day for both racers.BAD with a capital B-A-D for Kalitta, who not only lost with a 4.287-232.19 time, but also charged with his eighth oildown of the season to increase his points penalties to an astronomical 105 points.

The good news for Millican stopped at the finish line as he took the winlight with a 3.843 - 305.49 pass, but as you can see from the photo, did so with numerous cylinders out and some green "stuff" trailing the car. It was the team's sixth oildown of the season and increased their tally to 75 penalty points, but at least they made it to the second round.

(RIGHT) The second pair of Jim Maroney (not shown) and Shawn Langdon saw the heavily favoured "DHL" car take an easy win, despite an early shutoff that rang up a 3.923 - 285.77 on the Auto Club Raceway scoreboards. Best of all: no oil or other debris on the track. PS: Check out the tire distortion as he releases the chutes.

TF - Antron Brown --- TF - Leah Pruett

(LEFT) Running all alone in this photo, Antron Brown took the "Giant Killer" honours by dispatching the almost unbeatable Steve Torrence in the biggest upset of the round. After three miserable qualifying attempts that resulted in a "best" of 5.255, Brown and his "Matco Tools" team found the combination and laid down a solid 3.834 - 318.47 to easily cover Torrence's shaking and smoking 4.472 - 197.10 effort.

(RIGHT) The #2 qualifier, Leah Pruett faced the bottom qualifier (Steve Chrisman in his first NHRA race in nearly two years) and did the expected, easily dispatching him with a decent 3.906 - 311.77, to earn the bye run in the second round. Chrisman might have made it a close race to the 660' mark if he hadn't been second (.184 - .082) of the line.

TF - Brittany Force


FUNNY CAR - Round #1 Eliminations


FC - Matt Hagan (near lane) vs John Force (far 
lane) --- FC - Jim Campbell

(LEFT) The first pair of the first round of Funny Car featured a titanic matchup between defending world champion Matt Hagan (near lane) and 16-time champion John Force in the far lane. Hagan was favoured as he started from the #5 qualifying position, versus Force's #12 spot. Hagan even had the advantage of a lane swap after the cleanup of a huge oildown from the last pair of Top Fuel cars.

And Hagan left first, by slightly more than half a tenth, putting Force at a serious disadvantage. But the big horsepower of Force's machine closed the gap until Hagan's lead at the 660' mark was only 13 thousandths, and at the stripe, Force took the win by a margin of just six thousandths of a second, or barely a nose. A very good candidate for the best race of the day to be sure.

(RIGHT) Could lightning strike twice? The second pair featured #3 qualifier Blake Alexander (not shown) against the never-say-die Jim Campbell and in the second major upset of the round, Campbell took the win by a 4.223 - 289.57 clocking to a losing 4.342 - 248.25 for Alexander when his car headed for the wall just before the 660' mark. That was the first round win for the Jim Dunn team since the February 2020 race in Phoenix. That is truly a very long dry spell.

FC - Robert Hight --- FC - Robert Hight

FC - Bobby Bode Jr. --- FC - Cruz Pedregon

The latest update as of August 18, 2021


We've got more photos from Pomona, starting with a couple from the pits, the final Top Alcohol qualifying session, and coming up shortly, the second qualifying session for Pro Stock Motorcycle. Then it's on to some nitro burning Top Fuel action.


PRE-RACE PIT ACTION

FC - Ron Capps unloading --- FC - Matt Hagan unloading

(LEFT) Before qualifying got underway, it was time to unload the race cars and prep them. In this case it's Ron Capps and the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge.

(RIGHT) Sited next to the Capps pit is the DSR Performance (DSR-sponsored for this race) Dodge of world champion Matt Hagan.


TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER & FUNNY CAR - Final Qualifying Session

TAD - Shawn Cowie

Seemingly running all by himself, Shawn Cowie pushed the "Mundie's Towing" blown alky dragster to a good - but not better - pass of 5.353 - 273.50 that left him in the #2 spot on the final qualifying list. Holding down the #1 position was Joey Severance, who smoked the tires early and shutoff on what should have been a side-by-side battle for the top spot.

TAFC - Doug Gordon --- TAFC - Terry Ruckman (near lane) vs Brian Hough (far 
lane)

(LEFT) After struggling in his first two attempts (a best of 6.024 - 191.81), defending national champion Doug Gordon laid down a better - but still off his normal pace - 5.720 - 261.83 that moved him up from #8 to #4 on the final qualifying sheet.

(RIGHT) Despite the appearance of speed with the blurred background, both Terry Ruckman (near lane) and Brian Hough (far lane) were coasting after early shutoffs. Ruckman's 9.76 crossed the stripe first against Hough's 10.36 effort. Ruckman held on to the #1 spot with his Friday best of 5.621 - 264.08, while Hough sat in the #3 position with his earlier 5.681 - 260.61 from Friday's first session.

Keep watching this page as we add more photos from Saturday's qualifying at Pomona throughout the day. Tomorrow: Sunday's eliminations. Stay tuned!


PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - Qualifying Session #2


PSM - Angie Smith --- PSM - Eddie Krawiec

(LEFT) Unmistakable in her bright pink leathers, Angie Smith didn't improve on her earlier 6.901 (good for #6 qualifier) effort and only posted a 6.960 - 186.85, with a possible early shutoff.

(RIGHT) Running alongside Smith in this session was one of the Vance & Hines bikes, with former world champion Eddie Krawiec aboard, and he lost half a tenth from his Friday night 6.903 clocking (which put him #7 in the field) and slowed to a 6.950 - 198.15 to remain in the seven spot.

PSM - Angie Smith (near lane) vs Eddie Krawiec 
(far lane) --- PSM - Angie Smith (near lane) vs Eddie Krawiec 
(far lane)

(LEFT) It looks like Angie Smith (near lane) is trailing Eddie Krawiec (far lane) by nearly a full bike length in this shot.

(RIGHT) But she appears to be closing the gap as they near the finish line, with Smith running just one hundredth slower than Krawiec (6.960 - 6.950). What made the difference is that Krawiec left the line first by four hundredths, with an -.004 redlight to Smith's .035 reaction time.

PSM - Scotty Pollacheck --- PSM - Joey Gladstone (near lane) vs Matt Smith (far 
lane)

(LEFT) Making a solid pass to back up his Friday #2 qualifying 6.889 - 195.73 was Scotty Pollacheck, as he turned a 6.957 - 195.73 on his second qualifying attempt.

(RIGHT) Speeding away in the far lane is defending world champion Matt Smith enroute to the quickest pass of the session (6.841- 198.96), only slightly slower than his top qualifying effort from Friday evening (6.806 - 199.20). Trailing in the near lane is Joey Gladstone who slowed nearly a tenth from his earlier #3 qualifying 6.889 pass to a 6.968 - 196.02 on this run.


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2


TF - Shawn Langdon (near lane) vs Doug Kalitta (far 
lane) --- TF - Shawn Langdon (near lane) vs Doug Kalitta (far 
lane)

An intramural battle between the two Kalitta Motorsports drivers featured Shawn Langdon in the near lane, and Doug Kaliita on the far side. Both drivers were looking for much improved results from their rather dismal 6- and 7-second times of Friday evening. We're not sure if the "flames" coming out of Langdon's car are actual flames or raw fuel from dropped cylinders, but nonetheless he got to the finish line first with a decent pass (for the conditions) that just nipped Kalitta's right-there 4.047 - 301.94. We mentioned decent results as the track temperature at the start of the session was 141 degrees and the corrected altitude nearly 4000 ft.

TF - Buddy Hull --- TF - Mike Salinas (near lane) vs Leah Pruett (far 
lane)

(LEFT) Backing up his Friday evening 4.105 pass, Buddy Hull shut the Terry Haddock Racingcar down early, coasting across the line at 4.310 - 209.88 to show that they had the car dialled in. Sitting in the top half of the field at #6 going into the final qualifier had to be a personal best for Hull and Haddock's team.

(RIGHT) Paired up just like on Friday night, the #1 qualifier, Leah Pruett, in the far lane and the #2 qualifier, Mike Salinas, (near lane) went wheel to wheel down the 1000' strip and both ran in the 3's again. Pruett stopped the timers first at 3.980 - 301.33, while Salinas nearly matched her with a 3.985 - 242.36, despite a very early shutoff. Only one driver, Justin Ashley, outran them in the session, with a 3.917 - 308.43 that put him #3 on the ladder going into the final qualifying session.


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #2


FC - Jason Rupert --- FC - Jason Rupert

Still coming to grips with running his "Big Show" Funny Car, Jason Rupert dropped a cylinder at half track, then lost the entire engine in a MAJOR explosion at the finish line. The good news was a career best e.t. and speed at 4.269 - 289.01 that elevated him to the #9 position on the ladder. BUT, the bad news was the concussion from the blowup kayoed the body... and with no spare in the trailer... their weekend was done.

Adding injury to insult, they received an oildown penalty, but one bit of good news came later as they finished qualifying in the #11 position (earning them a first-round date with Alexis DeJoria. EPILOGUE: They weren't able to show for eliminations, but still took home first-round "runnerup" money, that would go some of the way towards a new body.

FC - Bobby Bode Jr. --- FC - Paul Lee

(LEFT) After a mercifully short cleanup of Rupert's engine debris, racing resumed with Bobby Bode Jr. trying to excape from near the bottom of the field (#15 position), and he did so, but only barely, as his 4.682 - 184.75 moved him up two spots to #13 going into the final session later in the afternoon.

(RIGHT) In the next pair, Paul Lee tried to bump back into the field from the #17 spot, but lost the handle at the 660' mark, and took out the timing block to DQ his run and leave him outside the field going into the last session.

FC - Bob Tasca III --- FC - Jim Campbell (near lane) vs Ron Capps (far 
lane)

(LEFT) Running alongside John Force (not shown), Bob Tasca III had an early shutoff and failed to improve on Friday's 4.226 pass, carding a 4.372 - 213.23 that left him in the #7 position.

(RIGHT) This was a more or less side-by-side race, but the scoreboards didn't exactly explode with delight, as both Jim Campbell (near lane) and Ron Capps in the far lane, rang up 6-second passes at barely 100 mph speeds. Capps remained in the #4 spot, while Campbell languished in #11 after the second session was complete.

FC - Cruz Pedregon --- FC - J.R. Todd

(LEFT) Running a single, as scheduled opponent Jeff Diehl elected to remain in the pits and sit on his #8 spot from Friday, Cruz Pedregon wasted a bunch of nitro and could only put a 5.797 - 119.01 on the scoreboards after losing traction at the 330' mark.

(RIGHT) Things weren't any better for J.R. Todd as spun and shook to a 5.505 - 129.42 to remain in the #6 position. Not shown was Robert Hight in the other lane, who ran even worse in the 6-second zone.


TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Round 1 eliminations & PRO STOCK - Final qualifying session


We realize that there's some serious gaps in our coverage, but we're grateful for all the photos that Bill Jeffery has so kindly provided. We've got one shot from the first round of Top Alcohol eliminations, and one pic from the last Pro Stock qualifying session before we move into the final sessions for the Top Fuel and Funny Cars.


TAFC - Doug Gordon --- PRO - Aaron Strong (near lane) vs Mason McGaha (far 
lane)

(LEFT) It was a relatively easy win in the first round for Doug Gordon, even though he slowed from his qualifying pace, but his 5.800 - 262.44 was more than enough to cover Nick Januik's (not shown) losing 5.977 - 255.87 pass.

(RIGHT) In the last qualifying session, Washington state's Aaron Strong (near lane) headed for the centerline and was forced to shut off to a 7-second time, leaving him in the #10 slot with his earlier 6.634 - 206.86, while Mason McGaha (far lane) kept the pedal down to record a 6.642 - 208.65. His earlier 6.609 - 208.39 left him in the #6 position.


TOP FUEL - Final Qualifying Session

TF - Steve Torrence --- TF - Brittany Force

(LEFT) With big flames in the late afternoon and a serious arch in the chassis, Steve Torrence climbed out of the basement (#13 with a 6-second best) all the way to the #2 spot with a very strong 3.808 - 322.27 pass. It was also top speed of the meet.... for a few minutes.

(RIGHT) Following Torrence's great run, and also on a solo as three cars sat in the pits, Brittany Force leapfrogged the entire field, going from #13 to #1 with low e.t. and (a new) top speed of the meet, cranking out an awesome 3.714 - 330.72 in the David Grubnic-tuned Flav-R-Pac entry. That run also earned her a first round bye on Sunday morning.

TF - Shawn Langdon

The "DHL" car of Shawn Langdon had the flames up high at the 660' mark, but they went down before the finish line as shown by his 3.854 - 292.01 numbers. Despite the early shutoff, he still climbed one notch on the ladder, from #6 to #5 in the field.

TF - Doug Kalitta (near lane) vs Justin Ashley 
(far lane) --- TF - Leah Pruett (near lane) vs Mike Salinas (far 
lane)

(LEFT) The last two pairs of the final session started with Doug Kalitta (near lane) facing (in the far lane) Justin Ashley and he made a solid move in the right direction, cutting nearly two tenths off his earlier 4.047 best, cranking out a 3.855 - 311.41 to advance one spot on the ladder (#7 to #6). Ashley also made an improvement, albeit smaller, as his 3.899 - 310.27 just slightly eclipsed his previous 3.917 clocking and left him in the #7 position going into Sunday's eliminations.

(RIGHT) The Top Fuel show closed with Leah Pruett (near lane) in her sponsor of the week "ICE Spiked" entry, matched against the "Travers Tools" clad car of Mike Salinas (partially obscured in the far lane). Both ran in the 3's again, but only Salinas improved as he dipped into the 70's with an excellent 3.790 - 318.09 to move from #4 to #3 on the final list. Pruett's good 3.905 - 307.79 left her in the #2 spot with her Friday night 3.780 effort.


FUNNY CAR - Final Qualifying Session


FC - Tim Wilkerson --- FC - Paul Lee (near lane) vs Bobby Bode

(LEFT) With the sun setting as the final qualifying session got underway, the first pair out of the lanes featured Tim Wilkerson, who was sitting in a very precarious #14 position with a best of 5.458 to his "credit". He didn't get all the way to the finish line under power, but kept the flames high long enough to move up three spots to a safe #11 spot on the sheet, with a timeslip.

(RIGHT) Next up were Paul Lee (near lane) and Bobby Bode Jr. in the far lane. Bode was off the throttle at half track and only clocked a 4.950 - 155.63, as he dropped one spot on the ladder to #15, earned with an earlier 4.682 pass. Lee made the most of his last chance, climbing from outside of the field all the way to the #7 spot with a very nice 4.045 - 311.85 result.

FC - Alexis DeJoria --- FC - Ron Capps

(LEFT) Running by herself as scheduled opponent Jim Campbell pulled out of line when team owner Jim Dunn saw that they couldn't be bumped, Alexis DeJoria made her last ditch attempt a good one as she moved from #18 to #6 and a first round matchup with a lower qualified car. Her run wasn't earth-shaking but the 4.021 - 313.73 was the third quickest and fastest of the session.

(RIGHT) Another solo run was in the cards for Ron Capps as Jeff Diehl decided to save the parts and nitro and sit on his earlier 4.259, and Capps made the most of it, jumping from a good #4 to an excellent #1 with a very strong 3.941 - 321.35 to show that the track and atmospheric conditions were finally coming around.

FC - Robert Hight

Running in the second-to-last pair, Robert Hight took his best shot and moved past Blake Alexander into the #2 position with a very good 3.953 - 323.27 run. Trailing in the far lane was partially obscured J.R. Todd, as he lifted early to keep it in his lane and stopped the clocks at 4.234 - 265.38, nearly two tenths slower than his early #7 qualifying 4.044 pass.


The latest update as of August 17, 2021


Here we go with the first batch of Pomona photos from the Friday PRO qualifying session. Remember to click on the small images to see the larger versions.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE - Qualifying Session #1

PSM - Joey Gladstone --- PSM - Angie Smith

(LEFT) The first session of Pro Stock Motorcycle saw Joey Gladstone make the first sub-6.90 pass of the day, a 6.889 - 195.73, that held onto the #1 spot until late in the session, as he dropped to the #3 spot at the end.

(RIGHT) Running nearly as quick as Gladstone, Angie Smith made a good start to her weekend, with a solid 6.901 - 195.42 to place #5 in the order.

PSM - Scotty Pollacheck --- PSM - Scotty Pollacheck

After contending for the points lead early in the season, Scotty Pollacheck was looking to rebound from three straight first-round losses, and made a good move in that direction, with a 6.865 - 196.64 pass that left him in the #2 spot at the end of the session.


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1

FC - Jeff Diehl --- FC - Jeff Diehl

Making his third appearance of the season, California's Jeff "The Surfer" Diehl put some big flames out of his "Real Deal-RATT" sponsored car and despite an early shutoff, clocked in at 4.259 - 272.23 to sit in the #8 position after the first round of qualifying

FC - Jim Campbell --- FC - Jim Campbell

Still out there racing after six decades in the sport, "Big" Jim Dunn's car sports the colours of one of his long-time sponsors, the iconic "MoonEyes" brand. With Jim Campbell behind the wheel, the car made a good early move but the candles went out early, stopping the clocks at 4.340 - 216.90, good enough for #9 on the qualifying sheet at the end of the day.

FC - Blake Alexander (left) vs Jim Campbell (right) --- FC - Blake Alexander (left) vs Jim Campbell (right)

Trying hard to chase down Blake Alexander as they headed to the top end, the Dunn Racing car was bathed in green light as it neared the 660' lights, while Alexander opened the gap on Jim Campbell. While Campbell shut off early to a 4.340, Alexander kept the pedal down for the first 3-second run of the weekend, a very good 3.961 - 318.44 that gave them the #1 qualifying spot for the day.

FC - Cruz Pedregon --- FC - Cruz Pedregon

Trying hard to match Alexander's great pass, Cruz Pedregon pushed the "Snap-On" Dodge to an almost as good 3.967 - 317.34 to slide into the #2 spot on the charts, as the team worked hard to rebound from consecutive first-round losses after their comeback victory at Norwalk in June. That was his first victory on the national tour in three years.

FC - Tim Wilkerson (near lane) vs Alexis DeJoria (far 
lane)

This was far from the quickest or fastest pair of the session, as Alexis DeJoria (far lane) smoked the tires right off the line and coasted to a 7-second clocking. Not having much better luck was Tim Wilkerson (near lane) as he lit 'em up shortly after this photo, and also coasted across the line with a 6-second timeslip.

FC - J.R. Todd (near lane) vs ARon Capps (far lane) --- FC - J.R. Todd (near lane) vs ARon Capps (far lane)

The next pair down both kept the throttle to the finish line, with Ron Capps (far lane) opening a gap on J.R. Todd (near lane) and stopping the clocks first with a very good 3.971 - 318.69, good for the #4 position, while Todd ran a bigger speed, but bigger e.t. too, timing in at 4.044 - 322.04 and landed in the #6 spot on the first session sheet.

FC - John Force (near lane) vs Robert Hight (far lane) --- FC - Robert Hight

(LEFT) Running almost side-by-side at this point, the CEO of JFR Racing (aka: The Boss), John Force in the near lane, kept pace with the JFR President, Robert Hight (far lane) until he gave up the fight after pedalling his way to a 4.552 - 283.67 timeslip.

(RIGHT) Running by himself after the Boss shut off, Robert Hight just missed - by one thousandth of a second - taking the top spot on the sheet with a very strong 3.962 - 327.11 pass that also took Top Speed honours for the session.

FC - Matt Hagan (near lane) vs Bob Tasca III (far lane) --- TF - Mike Salinas (near lane) vs Leah Pruett (far lane)

(LEFT) The last pair of Funny Cars didn't card 3-second passes, but it was a good side-by-side race until just past the 660' mark, when Matt Hagan (near lane) in the "DSR Dodge Hellcat" pulled away from Bob Tasca III (far lane), as the "Motorcraft" Mustang lost traction and shut off to a 4.226 - 225.56 clocking. Hagan narrowly missed dipping into the "3's" with a 4.009 - 312.13 that put him #5 on the qualifying list going into Saturday.

(RIGHT) Sporting the colours of the last sponsor ("Travers Tools") for the Johnson Brothers Top Fuel team of 1996, Mike Salinas (near lane) pushed the "Scrappers Racing" entry to a solid 3.840 - 308.35 time, good for #2 on the sheet behind the quicker and faster Leah Pruett (far lane), who stopped the clocks with the low e.t. of the night at 3.780 - 321.88 to take the top spot on the Top Fuel board.

In case you're wondering why there's only one Top Fuel picture from Friday night's lone qualifying session... there was the side-by-side 3-second pair shown above, then Buddy Hull (driving Terry Haddock's car) ran a 4.105 - 278.69.... then the next "quickest" car ran 5.158 at 136 mph. Does that answer the question of why there aren't more pictures. With our photographer down at about the 660 ft. mark, most of the cars were shut off and coasting well before then. Tomorrow has to be better. Stay tuned and find out.


The latest update as of August 16, 2021


Here's the first two pictures from our coverage of the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals held two weeks ago at Pomona's Auto Club Raceway. It's the top two performers in Top Alcohol Dragster; a great way to start our coverage, courtesy of Bill Jeffery. There's many, many more to come over the next few days.

TAD - Joey Severance --- TAD - Shawn Cowie

(LEFT) Making a Friday qualifying pass, Oregon's Joey Severance took the top spot after two of the three sessions, with a great - for the conditions - 5.325 - 270.21. That was a major improvement over his tire-shaking, shutoff pass of 7.489 in the first round of qualifying.

(RIGHT) Holding down the second spot was perennial national contender, British Columbia's Shawn Cowie who followed up a good 5.384 - 271.95 with an even better 5.340 - 275.22 to hold down the second spot on the ladder.


NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

In the two weeks between the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals (Pomona, CA) and this past weekend's Menard's NHRA Nationals (Topeka, KS), there's also been two regional events (Great Bend, KS & Indianapolis, IN) and all those races have resulted in some major changes in the Top Alcohol national points standings.

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings - August 15, 2021


TAFC National Points Standings - August 15, 2021

We've just started working on a huge pile of photos from the Winternationals, courtesy of our good friend, Bill Jeffery, who is planning to attend the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend. In the meantime, we'll be posting all of his great work from Pomona as soon as we can find enough time to do so. As always: stay tuned!


The latest update as of August 10, 2021


NHRA Heritage Series Points Standings

Following the completion of last weekend's 50th Anniversary Nightfire Nationals at Boise, ID's Firebird Raceway, we've compiled the updated points standings from the results page of Firebird Raceway's website, the coverage on Competition Plus, and the points structure page on NHRA's website. Until the NHRA points page is updated (and we can cross-check our tabulations), please consider these numbers as unofficial.


AAFC Heritage Series Points Standings - 
August 8, 2021

AAFD Heritage Series Points Standings - 
August 8, 2021


The latest update as of August 4, 2021


The site will be very slow on updates for the next ten days due to family visiting from Eastern Canadian. It's going to be a very busy time and we just won't have time to do much - if anything - in the way of updates until the middle of the month. Enjoy the summer weather and be sure to check out these pages later in the month for all the stuff we've been putting off doing while entertaining guests. Cheers!


The latest update as of August 2, 2021


It's my birthday today (71st... and thankfully, still counting!) so the update will be short and concise. The long-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals was completed over the weekend and we've got the latest national points standings for the Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars. And that's about it for today.


NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings - August 1, 2021

The biggest change in the T/AD standings saw Shawn Cowie move into a tie for the lead with Rachel Meyer. Cowie took the event win at the Winternationals, and leapfrogged over idle racers, Jackie Fricke and Julie Nataas to the top rung on the ladder. Also making a big move was Cowie's final round opponent, Joey Severance who jumped all the way from #10 to #5 on the basis of his runner-up finish. Below the Top Ten, west coast racers, Casey Grisel improved from the #17 spot to #14, and Kim Parker moved into the #18 position.


TAFC National Points Standings - August 1, 2021

The season-long battle between the defending TA/FC champion, Doug Gordon and former two-time champion, Greg Bellemeur continued, with Gordon picking up second round loser points - certainly not the result he was looking for at the Winternationals, to move ahead of Bellemeur by just 32 points. The early exit for the Gordon team at a race that didn't have Bellemeur in the pits could be a key factor in the championship battle at the end of the season. Event runner-up Brian Hough gained a bunch of points but it wasn't enough to catch #6 Nick Januik (first round loser), who held the #6 spot despite his early departure from eliminations.

The Winternationals winner, Terry Ruckman moved from virtually nowhere in the standings into the #20 spot on the list, and former champion Shane Westerfield moved from #18 to the #11 position, just one point shy of the Top Ten. If he could have advanced to the semi-finals, he'd be in that top group.


The latest update as of July 29, 2021


Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals logo

It's not going to be the largest number of competitors at a Winternationals - in fact, far from it - but there will be nearly full fields in the PRO categories. Leading the way will be Funny Car, with 18 entrants, followed by Pro Stock (16), Pro Bike (15), and trailing the rest, "The Kings of The Sport" aka: Top Fuel, with just 13 competitors. The numbers get even worse when we move down to Top Alcohol Dragster (just EIGHT), and Funny Car (NINE).

Whatever happened to all the west coast alky racers? Admittedly, there are a number of factors contributing to the decline: COVID-19 obviously, and the impediments it's put on travel, especially of the cross-border variety, and the uncertainty affecting the economy and people's and company's willingness to spend money on non-essential activities. We can only hope that 2022 sees a return to something approaching a "normal" (or new normal) way of life.

In Top Alcohol Dragster, with just eight drivers competing, there are only two Top Ten racers in competition at Pomona. Both running supercharged alcohol, it's Shawn Cowie, and arch-rival Joey Severance. With the last minute withdrawal of Mike Austin, there's only three alky cars competing against five injected nitro racers. The favourite to take the crown is obviously three-time defending Winternats champion, Cowie, as his Mundie's Towing team has been absolutely dominant at Pomona over the past six years. During that span they've made it to the final round five times, winning four of them.

Cowie's fortunes haven't been so fortunate at the other Pomona event, the traditional season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals, as in the five years from 2015-2019 (last year's event was cancelled) he's "only" won twice and made the semi-finals once. However, in the eleven total Pomona races since 2015, he's notched six wins, and a runner-up and has tallied a winning percentage of .861 , with 31 round wins against just five losses. That's quite a record and that's why he's the odds-on favourite to continue that record this weekend. With the wealth of track and atmospheric conditions knowledge that ace tuner Norm Grimes has amassed since coming onboard with Cowie in the mid-2010's, it's going to be a tall task for his competitors to beat him.

Moving on to Top Alcohol Funny Car, we've got a nine-car field, which means four rounds of racing, with a bye run in each round leading up to the final. If NHRA follows their normal elimination schedule for the alcohol cars, it will mean three rounds on Sunday (as opposed to two for the dragsters) in a very compressed time frame of just three hours. In practice, that means less than 90 minutes between rounds, which is a walk in the park for the pro teams, but in a "sportsman" category that requires heavy maintenance between runs, it's going to be a tough Sunday afternoon for the teams.

Eight of the nine drivers entered are from the West Coast (one from Alaska, one from Washington, one from Oregon, one from Nevada, and four from California), while just (Terry Ruckman) resides east of the Rocky Mountains (Grand Junction, CO). Of that group, three are currently in the Top Ten, with defending national champion Doug Gordon, sitting in second place, just ten points behind leader Sean Bellemeur, who is not attending the Winternationals. The #6 (Nick Januik) and #7 (Brian Hough) racers are well back in the standings, and only Januik has a chance to move up the points table.

Of the rest of the field, only former national champion (2017) Shane Westerfield is a serious threat to the category leaders, but he does have a chance to make a big jump up the standings from his current #17 spot, and move into the Top Ten again with a late round finish. A real darkhorse in the form of Mike Doushgounian, tuned by Bob Miner, is capable of making some serious noise and could provide an upset... or two... before the tire smoke settles on Sunday afternoon.


The latest update as of July 27, 2021


NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings - July 26, 2021

Making the biggest move in the Top Alcohol Dragster standings over the weekend was Rachel Meyer as she jumped from a third-place tie with Shawn Cowie to the top of the standings with her win at the Heartland Motorsports Park event at Topeka, KS. Her final round competitor, Jared Dreher made an even bigger move, from somewhere in the 30's to a tie for 21st place. Other racers advancing were semi-finalists James Stevens, from #8 to #5, and moving into the Top Ten for the first time this season, Robin Samsel, climbing from #11 to #8 in the standings.


TAFC National Points Standings - July 26, 2021

With just a five-car field at Topeka, that included just two Top Ten runners, there wasn't as much movement in the Top Alcohol Funny Car standings. Event runner-up, Bob McCosh Jr. gained 21 points, but remained well back of #2 Doug Gordon, still 74 points behind him. Winning the race was Kyle Smith, who leaped from #19 into the Top Ten, at #10 in the standings. Despite a surprising first-round exit, Chris Foster climbed from #15 to #11, just two points behind Smith on the table. One other Top Tenner, Kris Hool lost in the semi-finals and waived his points to remain in the #5 position.



Back to the Top of the page

The latest update as of July 21, 2021


NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings - July 19, 2021

The weekend event at National Trail Raceway attracted a small-ish field of just eight Top Alcohol Dragsters, but it did result in some movements in the points standings. Despite an untimely first round exit, Julie Nataas inched closer to the points leader Jackie Fricke (who was idle). The gap is now just three points between the two racers. The biggest move upwards was Jasmine Salinas who won her first NHRA regional event and moved into a tie for sixth place (with James Stevens) as the McPhillip's-tuned "Scrappers Racing" team is definitely making some big steps forward.

Falling out of the Top Ten was Matthew Cummings, who is only running at national events in the McPhillips family owned hot rod, as Rich Jr. moved into the cockpit and took the runner-up spot at Columbus, in the process moving up one spot to #12 in the standings. Also advancing one notch, to #11, was semifinalist Robin Samsel.


TAFC National Points Standings - July 19, 2021

The BIG news in Funny Car was the new Number One, as Sean Bellemeur won the National Trail event over a short five-car field. In the process he moved past the season-long leader, Doug Gordon by ten points. It looks like it's going to be quite a battle for Gordon to retain his 2020 National championship over the two-time champion from 2018 & 2019, Bellemeur. Another big move saw Tony Bogolo jump into the Top Ten in the #9 spot, bumping Dan Pomponio down to #12. The event runnerup, Chip Beverett made the biggest gain as he vaulted all the way from # to #11, just twelve points out of the Top Ten.

This weekend there's a Central Regional event at Topeka's Heartland Raceway Park and we'll have the points updated next Monday following the completion of the event. Then it's on to Pomona the following weekend for the long-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals as the Western Swing wraps up.


The latest update as of July 16, 2021


Top Fuel Pro Mod

It seems like a simple enough equation: you take an 11,000 HP NHRA Big Show-style engine out of a full-on Top Fuel Dragster and plunk it in a 1953 Studebaker. Then what would you call it? How about "StudeZilla"? And that's exactly what Scott Palmer and his band of nitro loonies did. The car in question is a specially built Larry Jeffers Pro Mod chassis designed to handle about.... 5000 HP. So what happens when you double that ouput and add a little more for good/bad measure? Take a look at the following sequence of pictures and draw your own conclusions.

And if one Top Fuel Pro Mod isn't enough, then just double the fun, the excitement, the chances for some seriously disastrous mechanical carnage by adding a second car in the form of J.R. Sandlian's Chevelle-bodied BAD Attitude machine. Just line them up side-by-side, flash the ambers and let the FUN begin! Check out our (almost) exclusive coverage of this once in a lifetime (hopefully!) event here courtesy of our fearless correspondent, BIG Bob Snyder.

Here's the photos; we'll fill in captions tomorrow

J.R. Sandlian - 'Bad Attitude' --- Scott Palmer - 'Studezilla'

J.R. Sandlian - 'Bad Attitude' --- J.R. Sandlian - 'Bad Attitude'

J.R. Sandlian - 'Bad Attitude' --- J.R. Sandlian - 'Bad Attitude'

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---


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Outlaw Pro Mod Qualifying


Brandon Lewis - PM --- Wayne Roberts - PM

(LEFT) Looking great in an early 'Vette, is Brandon Lewis

PM #1963


Round One Eliminations

---

(LEFT) In the right lane in the '65 Mustang is Jim Roberts

(RIGHT) In the right lane is Wayne Roberts in the late-model Corvette

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(LEFT In the first round of eliminations, it's Brandon Sandlian in the left lane, and Jim Roberts in the right lane.

(RIGHT) Eventual event winner Eddie Rogers in the "Chevelle from Hell"


Semi-Finals

Eddie Rogers - 'Chevelle from Hell' 
(near lane) vs (far lane) --- Brandon Sandlian - 'Junkyard Stude' (near lane) 
vs (far lane)

(LEFT) In the near lane, it's Eddie Rogers in the "Chevelle from Hell" who took an easy win and a berth in the final round when his opponent, Alton Holsted in the flaming black 'Vette (far lane) blew up BIG TIME!

(RIGHT) After a nearly one hour cleanup, it's Brandon Sandlian in the "Junkyard Stude" '53 Studebaker in the near lane, and on the far side it's an unidentified black early model 'Vette.

Eddie Rogers - 'Chevelle from 
Hell' - Winners Circle

Posing in the Winners Circle is Eddie Rogers and crew with the "Chevelle from Hell"


The latest update as of July 14, 2021


58th Summer Nationals - Kansas International 
Dragway - Funny Car Chaos


Before we start the Funy Car Chaos report, we've got to wish a very happy - albeit slightly belated - 100th birthday to the "Cam-Father" Ed Iskenderian. He's still very much alive and so is his cam grinding business that's still turning out some great products. The last cam I ever bought was a custom grind for my Top Alcohol car. It got a little beat up when we hydrauliced the engine... but that's beside the point now. Best wishes for another great year for Mr. Iskenderian.


Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' --- Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick'

(LEFT) Leading off the final session was Keith Jackson in the family's iconic "High Heaven" Camaro. This was a special pass for the team as they had a large banner on the side of the car memorializing the life of the recently passed owner of one of the FCC series major sponsors, Randy Ranew of the Red Line Shirt Club. After failing to get down the track on Friday, Keith kept the pedal down to the tune of 4.247 - 171.04 to earn a slot in the "B" field. Unfortunately, the run did enough damage to the engine that they had to pass on eliminations and let an alternate into their spot.

(RIGHT) After a couple of so-so runs on Friday, North Dakota's Jim Chase stepped up big in his "Wicked Quick" '55 Chevy, blasting into the middle of the "A" field with a very strong 3.888 - 187.03 that held up for the #4 spot on the final ladder.

Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'

(LEFT) Making a huge leap up the ladder was Mary Reep in her "Grim Reeper" entry, vaulting from #22 all the way to the #8 spot (and a first round match against the low qualifier) with a strong pass of 4.105 - 144.60, despite an early shutoff.

(RIGHT) A furious burnout didn't help Chris Schneider as he wasn't able to improve on his Friday best of 4.471 - 157.18 in the "Brutus" Mustang and saw himself fall from #9 to #15 on the final list, putting him near the bottom of the "B" field.

Scott Pareso - 'Altered Reality' --- Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter'

(LEFT) Still trying to come to grips with his conversion from an open-bodied Altered to a Funny Car, Scott Pareso finished Friday with a best of 4.756 - 146.82, before stepping up to a 4.417 - 157.67 in the last session on Saturday. It moved his "Altered Reality" from just outside, to just inside the "B" field in the #14 position.

(RIGHT Making his Funny Car Chaos debut, another convert from the Rocky Mountain Superchargers group, Tony Arcuri in his "Firefighter" had no luck on Friday, and very little on Saturday, "improving" from a 20-second time to a 15-second pass in his final attempt. While the car could do a good burnout, problems in the Lenco drive were the likely culprit causing the lack of motion when it left the starting line.

Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed'

Closing out qualifying was Mike Newkirk in his "Disturbed" entry and he improved slightly from Friday's 3.936 - 188.44 best
to a 3.871 - 191.00 clocking that kept him in the #3 position in the "A" field.


Eliminations - Round #1

The only change made to the ladders after qualifying was the withdrawal of #11 qualifier Keith Jackson due to breakage, which moved everyone below him up one spot. The biggest beneficiary of that change was series debutante Alex Barker who moved from #25, and out of the show, into the last spot in the "C" field. That change also put Daniel Butherus in hot water as he moved from the top of the "C" field into the bottom of the "B" field, and a first round match against Dave Gallegos, the top qualifier in that group.

"A" Field

Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' (right lane) 
vs Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War' (left lane) --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed'

(LEFT) Kicking off eliminations were the #3 and #6 qualifiers, Mike Newkirk (right lane) and Shayne Lawson in his beautiful "Man O' War" entry (left lane), and they put on a great side-by-side 3-second race. Despite a rather late light (.153 to .106), Newkirk turned on the scoreboards first with his best of the weekend 3.823 - 191.41 to overcome Lawson's early lead and slightly slower 3.948 - 185.72 effort.

(RIGHT) Here's a closer look at "Disturbed" as it passes our photographer enroute to his first round win.

Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' 
(right lane) vs Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' (left lane) --- Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper'

(LEFT) The next pair out of the lanes featured the dominating (two wins and two runnerups in the last four races) Kirk Williams, and it looked like he was still on a roll with a great (.037) light, but the win streak snapped early and he slowed to a losing 5.270 - 127.08 against opponent Mary Reep.

(RIGHT) Here's a closer look at the "Grim Reeper" as Mary pushed the loud pedal hard to the tune of a winning 3.906 - 178.29 for her first round win and best pass ever in Funny Car Chaos competition.

Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' (right lane) 
vs Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' (left lane) --- Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (right lane) 
vs Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' (left lane)

(LEFT) Catching everyone's attention with a wheels-up (way up!) launch, Chuck Loftin made a hard charge in his "Motivation" entry (left lane), but was forced to pedal to get the errant Mustang under control and the resulting 4.491 - 145.35 wasn't enough to cover Jim Chase's good-enough-for-the-win 4.307 - 176.89 effort in the right lane. Chase's win put him into semifinals, against Reep, with Mary having her choice of lanes.

(RIGHT) Closing out the round was the co-points leader, Ken Singleton (right lane) matched up with many time opponent Nick Poloson (right lane) and it turned into another runaway victory for the "High Risk" team as Singleton turned on the winlight with his best run of the weekend (to this point) 3.763 - 202.16 to hold off the good try 4.145 - 151.82 of Poloson. The win set up a semifinal match between Singleton and Newkirk, with Singleton holding lane choice.


"B" Field

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (right 
lane) vs Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' (left lane)

Moving down to the second eight, FCC championship contender Tom Furches (right lane) left second but finished first, as his (.150 to .066) launch didn't stop him from taking the win with a 4.143 - 171.17 over Nick Johnson's (left lane) trailing 4.498 - 153.79 clocking.

Scott Pareso - 'Altered Reality' (right 
lane) vs Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (left lane) --- Scott Pareso - 'Altered Reality'

(LEFT) Cutting the best light of the round (.027) wasn't enough to help Scott Pareso (right lane) get to the finish line first, as his 4.461 - 156.96 fell to the much quicker 4.213 - 170.20 of Dustin Bradford. Pareso's six hundredths advantage at the start still left nearly two tenths behind at the stripe.

(RIGHT) Another, closer view of the "Altered Reality" entry.

Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' --- Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (right 
lane) vs Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' (left lane)

(LEFT) Blazing the hides on the burnout, Top Ten (in the points standings) runner Daniel Butherus really put the whip to his big-block Chevy powered "Rat-A-Tude" flopper.

(RIGHT) When the ambers flashed, Butherus (right lane) jumped out to an early lead over opponent Dave Gallegos (left lane) as the "Nitro Clown" was more than a little late on the launch (.205 to the .074 for Butherus). And Gallegos kept the pedal down all the way to the finish line, stopping the clocks with his best ever 3.896 - 180.07... for the LOSS.

As explained in previous Funny Car Chaos reports, there is a breakout rule in effect for the "B" and "C" fields, that fixes an index two tenths of a second below the low qualifying e.t. for that field. In this case, Gallegos was low qualifier at 4.230, setting the index at 4.030. Obviously his 3.896 was far below the mark, disqualifying him and advancing Butherus to the semifinals.

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (right lane) vs 
Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender Racing' (left lane)

Closing the round was the pairing of Chris Schneider (right lane) against the "Wicked Weekender" entry of Steve Vang. The race was over right at the starting line as the "Brutus" was actually broken (blower problems) and limped to the starting line before shutting off when the green came on. Easily advancing to the semifinals and a match against Tom Furches, Vang put down a solid 4.290 - 164.65 for the win.

"C" Field

Finishing the first round, the "C" field - which is looking like a regular feature at Funny Car Chaos events this year due to the continuing excellent car counts - put on a good show for the spectators.

Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' (right lane) 
vs Alex Barker - 'Back in Black' (left lane) --- Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream'

(LEFT) Even though it looks like a major holeshot, Andy Mears (right lane) didn't leave that much quicker than opponent Alex Barker (in his father Tod's "Back in Black" Corvette). Barker's .561 reaction was worse than Mears' .453 light, but the gap opened quickly as Barker's 4.759 - 142.72 was no match for the winning 4.525 - 135.34 put down by the "Dragon Slayer" '57 Chevy.

(RIGHT) Filling the frame is Matt Nissen in his familiar "Runnin' Down a Dream" as it appears that he might be on a solo pass. However, looks can be deceiving as he left first in a bit of a snoozing contest (.388 to .465) over the not shown Jordan "Ballew Thunder" Ballew. Ballew's quicker 4.489 - 155.98 pass held off Nissen's second best 4.634 - 140.01 for a less than two car length victory.

Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' (right lane) 
vs Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (left lane) --- Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (right lane) 
vs Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (left lane)

(LEFT) In what became a continuing pattern for the "C" field, another pair of less than stellar lights initiated this match, with Jade Cook (left lane) leaving second with a .614 (!) light to Tod Barker's (right lane) slightly "better" .498 launch. Looking closely at the photo shows that Barker launched crooked and got off the throttle early, crossing the finish line with a 5.198 - 106.89 time. Cook's winning numbers were 4.461 - 155.17 that put her into the semifinals with lane choice over Jordan Ballew.

(RIGHT) The final race of the first round saw a pair of Chevys, a Vega in the right lane driven by Mike Buchanan paired up with the Monza of Justin Herbst in the left lane. Buchanan turned on the winlight with a quicker 4.735 - 146.87, while Herbst turned on the redlight, throwing away a 4.816 - 148.17 pass.


Eliminations - Round #2

"A" Field

Mary Reep (Grim Reeper) left - 
Jim Chase (Wicked Quick) right - in the staging lanes

A friendly greeting of competitors in the staging lanes preceded the semi-final match between Mary Reep (left) and Jim Chase (right).

Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' (near lane) 
vs Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' (far lane) --- Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (near lane) 
vs Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' (far lane)

(LEFT) Doing her job on the starting line, Mary Reep (far lane) left first by a margin of .032 to Jim Quick's (near lane) .066 light. But her lead was used up quickly as Chase laid down his best ever e.t. in Funny Car Chaos competition, 3.830 - 189.47 to leave Reep's early shutoff 4.330 - 136.16 far behind at the finish line.

(RIGHT) The other pairing in the semifinal saw Mike Newkirk (far lane) leaving first - by a bunch - but only due to a redlight (-.079), and he shutoff soon after this photo to a losing 6.561 - 76.80 time. Taking the automatic win, but not taking it easy, Ken Singleton (near lane) tickled the tuneup a little more and turned his best run of the weekend, 3.743 - 203.07 to garner lane choice honors in the final against Chase.

"B" Field

Tom Furches - 'Made in America'

It's never a good sign to see the crew pushing a car back to the starting line after the burnout, and in this case it was an accidentally shutoff Tom Furches, as his "Made in America" car bowed out before getting a chance to stage in the semifinal.

Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender Racing' --- Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude'

(LEFT) Taking advantage of his opponent's plight, Steve Vang made a full pass, stopping the clocks at 4.222 - 166.36 in the hope of earning lane choice for the final round.

(RIGHT) In a bizarre twist, Daniel Butherus took a solo pass as his opposition, Dustin Bradford, sat behind the water box, unable to fire his "American Dream". Butherus tried hard, but his 4.621 - 152.49 fell far short of Vang's e.t. and left the "Wicked Weekender" team with lane choice for the final.

"C" Field

Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (near lane) vs 
Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT) Another bye run? Yes, that was the case as Andy Mears ran alone as Mike Buchanan failed to make it to the starting line. Mears responded with his best run of the weekend, finally escaping the 5.50-zone and laying down a 4.443 - 157.73 to move into the final round.

(RIGHT) Joining Mears in the "C" field final was the surprise of the 2021 season, Jade Cook, (near lane) as she advanced to her third final in her last four races with a 4.414 - 155.66 pass that easily handled the early shutoff run of Jordan Ballew (far lane), who trailed with a 5.469 - 87.72 timeslip. Cook's run was her best of the weekend and snatched lane choice away from Mears by just three hundredths.

Eliminations - Final Rounds

With the sun set and the track lights on, it was final round time and the races for the big prizes and glory, starting with the "C" field and working upwards to the "A" final.

Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' (near lane) 
vs Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (far lane)

With two evenly matched cars it might become a battle of reaction times with Andy Mears (near lane) in his "Dragon Slayer" '57 Chevy taking on the hands-down "FCC Rookie of The Year" Jade Cook in her "Nemesis" (far lane). It was a close race, with Mears leaving first by just .014 and holding the lead all the way to the finish, turn on the winlight with a 4.331 - 161.64 over Cook's close 4.386 - 156.47 time. The margin at the finish line was just over a car length as Mears notched his second consecutive "C" field win, moving him up to the #5 spot in the points standings.


Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender Racing' 
(near lane) vs Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (far lane)

After battling hard all weekend, and running consistently in the 4.20's to advance to his first final round of the season, Steve Vang (near lane) in his "Wicked Weekender" fell - on a holeshot - to the hard running "Rat-A-Tude" of Daniel Butherus (far lane), as Butherus left first first by a full tenth of a second and made his 4.358 - 163.22 stand up for the win over Vang's quicker 4.301 - 161.87 effort. Like in the "C" final, it was barely a car length between the cars at the stripe as Butherus won his second race of the 2021 season and moved into a tie for third place in the FCC standings.


Ken Singleton - 'High Risk

Then came the race that everyone had been looking forward to, for the big prize going to the winner of the "A" final. In the near lane, Ken Singleton (near lane) left hard in his "High Risk" car and outran the very worthy challenger from North Dakota, Jim Chase, (far lane) in his aptly name "Wicked Quick" '57 Chevy. Singleton turned up the wick just a tad and made his best pass of the weekend at 3.734 - 204.92 (top speed of the meet) to cover Chase's off-pace 6.844 - 88.25 losing effort.

Singleton had already broken the tie for the points lead with Kirk Williams earlier in the evening, but the event win opened the gap to a 30 point lead for Singleton. This was also Ken's fifth consecutive final, with three wins to his credit... so far.

Here's the updated Funny Car Chaos points standings following the Kansas International Dragway event at Wichita, KS.

NOTE: Click on the image to see a larger - and easier to read - version of this table

Funny Car Chaos Points Standings - July 13, 2021

Data courtesy of FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Thanks Chris Graves!

The latest update as of July 13, 2021


58th Summer Nationals - Kansas International 
Dragway - Funny Car Chaos

Yes, we have pictures from the latest FUNNY CAR CHAOS event, held last weekend at Kansas International Dragway, as the feature attraction at their 58th annual Summer Nationals. These are shots from the first qualifying session, held early on Friday evening. Many, many more to follow as the day progresses. Captions will be filled in as soon as the first day's qualifying photos (two sessions) are posted. Stay tuned! We don't have access to the first round qualifying results, as the cumulative results of the two sessions are posted at the end of Friday's qualifying.


Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder'

(LEFT) Leading off our coverage is Jade Cook in her "Nemesis" entry and she continued to impress with a solid run from her UNblown (nitrous BBC) entry, posting a best for the day of 4.670 - 128.79 to provisionally place her in the #15 spot, near the bottom of the "B" field.

(RIGHT) Following a hard charging burnout, the "Ballew Thunder" Camaro of Jordan Ballew put down a slightly off-pace 4.870 - 148.17 that left him well down the qualifying sheet in the #20 position.

Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War'

(LEFT) The flamed GTO "Back in Black" is now running under new ownership. It started life as an NHRA Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car run by Dennis La Charite, then passed along to Funny Car Chaos runner Lynn Logue, and fittingly enough is now running as part of a two-car "Back in Black" team of Tod and Alex Barker. Father Tod is now driving the GTO while his son Alex wheels the familiar black Corvette. His best of the day 4.812 - 126.12 placed him in the #18 slot on the list.

(RIGHT) Continuing his perfect attendance record (all six events on the FCC calendar so far), Shayne Lawson ran hard to a very good 4.106 - 146.10 pass (note the early shutoff speed), in his Mustang-bodied "Man O' War" entry, putting him in the #4 spot and solidly in the "A" field going into the final qualifier on Saturday afternoon.

Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'

(LEFT) Laying down some rubber before his run, Justin Herbst made a decent pass of 4.731 - 147.88 in his short wheelbase Monza-bodied "Scorpion". The run put him in the #16 position and gave him a toehold on the last spot in the "B" field.

(RIGHT) Longtime FCC racer Chris Schneider wheeled the "Brutus" Mustang to a solid 4.471 - 157.18 that left him near the top of the "B" field in the #9 position after Friday's two sessions.

Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' --- Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream'

(LEFT) Not making much of an impact in the first qualifying session, Mary Reep struggled to a best of 5.065 - 91.28 on Friday in her "Grim Reeper" and was down near the bottom of the sheet in the #22 position.

(RIGHT) Having even worse luck on Friday was Dustin Bradford as this hellacious burnout was followed with a "No Time Recorded" clocking as the "American Dream" 'Cuda failed to make it down the track.

Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' (near lane) vs 
Robin Rish - 'Blown Retirement' (far lane)

(LEFT) Making quite an impact in the first session was the "Nitro Clown" Z28 Camaro of Dave Gallegos as he pounded out a very good 4.230 - 168.73 that put him in the #5 position and solidly in the "A" field.

(RIGHT) Making an even bigger impact was the NHRA "Big Show" car of Mike Newkirk (near lane) as he stopped the timers with an excellent 3.936 - 188.44, good enough for the #3 position on the overall list and a spot in the "A" field for the "Disturbed" team. In the far lane, Robin Rish in his "Blown Retirement" entry fell back early and stopped the timers later at 5.577 - 129.65, landing in the #24 spot on the qualifying sheet.

Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' --- Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop'

(LEFT) The big news this season has been the performance of the "Williams Bros." team, as driver Kirk Williams went straight to the top with the low e.t. and top speed of the day, carding a 3.725 - 203.80 to show that they were aiming for the fifth straight final round of the season.

(RIGHT) Launching hard, with the wheels up and the chassis torqued over, Jeff Cameron was forced to lift and get back on the pedal in the "Jake's Speed Shop" entry. The end result was a mediocre 5.393 - 127.59 timeslip that put them in the #23 spot and a possible "C" field position going into Saturday's final qualifying session.

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' --- Tony Arcuri - 'Firefighter'

(LEFT) Points leader and two-time defending series champion Ken Singleton showed that the "High Risk" team wasn't lacking in performance as they took the #2 spot on the ladder with a very good 3.794 - 202.25 effort.

(RIGHT) Running last in the first session was series newcomer Tony Arcuri in his "Firefighter" and a serious lack of propulsion put him near the bottom of the list with a nothing-to-write-home-about pass of 20.417 - 31.31 best for the day.


Dueling BackUp People'

BackUp people come in all shapes, sizes and genders, as evidenced here by the fun-loving "Reverse Gear Assistant" making a funny face (left) and the Greek warrior guy who backs up the "Brutus" car.


With the sun long since set and the track lights on, the second qualifying session saw some improved performances and at least a few sets of header flames from the nitro burning cars. With a new position near the starting line, our photographer (BIG Bob Snyder) took a series of side-by-side shots in the evening qualifying session.

Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down a Dream' (near 
lane) vs Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (far lane) --- Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (near lane) vs 
Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (far lane)

(LEFT) In the near lane, Matt Nissen in his "Runnin' Down a Dream" pushed his way into the middle of the "B" field in the #14 position with a decent 4.625 - 131.31 pass, good enough for the #14 position, while in the far lane, Chris Schneider made a better run (4.471 - 157.18) for the #9 spot.

(RIGHT) Putting down a solid effort on Friday was Justin Herbst (near lane) in the Monza-bodied "Scorpion", clocking in at 4.731 - 147.88 for the #16 spot, while in the far lane, Jade Cook ended the day with a best of 4.670 - 128.79 to hold down the #15 slot on the list.

Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' --- Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' (near lane) vs 
Nick Poloson - 'Bucket List' (far lane)

(LEFT) Pushing the "Prairie Fire" to the #10 position, near the top of the "B" field, was Nick Johnson as he carded a 4.480 - 154.16 best on the first day of qualifying.

(RIGHT) Partially obscured in the near lane, Andy Mears in his "Dragon Slayer" Chevy laid down a 4.547 - 153.64 to grab a spot in the "B" field in the lucky #13 position, while over in the far lane, the Doak & Poloson "Bucket List", driven by Nick Poloson, shut off early but still put down a good 4.503 - 117.71 for the #11 spot.

Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Tod Barker - 'Back in Black' (far lane)

(LEFT) Looking to improve his performance after a few difficult outings, Chuck Loftin (far lane) tried hard with the nitro burning "Motivation" Mustang but came up short with a best for the day of only 4.848 - 149.60, good only for the #19 position and a provisional spot in the "C" field. Mostly obscured in the near lane was Robin Rish who failed to improve on his earlier 5.577 pass.

(RIGHT) In the near lane, Jordan Ballew finished the day with a 4.870 - 148.17 best, while on the far side, Tod Barker in the former Lynn Logue car fared a little better with a 4.812 - 126.12 after the second qualifying session.

Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' --- Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre'

(LEFT) Showing that he was serious about competing with the Funny Car Chaos regulars, Jim Chase clocked in at 4.402 - 165.20 in his "Wicked Quick" '57 Chevy, leaving him in the #8 spot, and a spot in the "A" field going into Saturday's final qualifier.

(RIGHT) In one of the shortest wheelbase cars on the circuit, Mike Buchanan made a best of the day 4.958 - 147.88 run in the "Hombre" Vega, leaving him in the #21 spot and safely in the "C" field.

Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender Racing'

(LEFT) Running under the lights, the "Nitro Clown" of Dave Gallegos put on a good flame show (not shown here unfortunately) for the fans, and finished Friday in the #5 position on the list.

(RIGHT) After a semifinal finish at the previous event (Kearney, NB), Steve Vang wanted to keep the momentum going and pushed the "Wicked Weekender" to a very good 4.299 - 163.99 that placed him #7 and a spot in the "A" field going into Saturday's final session.

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (near lane) vs 
Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (far lane) --- Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing'

(LEFT) In the near lane, Tom Furches launched his "Made in America" to a competitive 4.231 - 169.81 time that put him #6 and well into the "A" field, while in the far lane, Jeff Cameron had his troubles continue as he was unable to better his earlier 5.393 - 127.59 and sat near the bottom of the "C" field in the #23 position.

(RIGHT) Coming out to back up his earlier low qualifying 3.725 pass, Kirk Williams appeared to start his burnout well out of the groove, and didn't better his earlier low qualifying numbers, but still held on to the #1 spot going into the final Saturday qualifying session.

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed'

(LEFT) With the heavy hitters in the earlier session coming up near the end of the second session, Ken Singleton held onto his #2 spot with a 3.794 - 202.25 timeslip.

(RIGHT) Closing out the evening was Mike Newkirk and he stayed in the #3 spot with his 3.936 - 188.44 pass in the "Disturbed" car.


The latest update as of July 12, 2021


58th Summer Nationals - Kansas International 
Dragway - Funny Car Chaos

Nothing yet in the way of pictures, but we do have the results and will post them later today. Quickly, we can sum them up as follows:

"A" field WINNER Ken Singleton runner-up Jim Chase

"B" field WINNER Daniel Butherus runner-up Steve Vang

"C" field WINNER Andy Mears runner-up Jade Cook


NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings - July 11, 2021

TAFC National Points Standings - July 11, 2021


The latest update as of July 10, 2021


NHRA Division Six - Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series logo

Friday's qualifying for Top Alcohol (Funny Car & Dragster) was completed at Woodburn Dragstrip and a full field of dragsters, plus an alternate, took part. The Funny Car field swelled to seven from Thursday's five, so the number of cars in competition will make for a good show during eliminations this afternoon. Leading the dragsters, was the lone Canadian competing in the event, Langley BC's Shawn Cowie as he continues his quest for a first national championship. His first session 5.235 - 278.81 led the field, with Chris Demke second on the sheet with a 5.297 - 272.31. From there the numbers trailed down to Kim Parker's bump spot 5.501 - 269.13, followed closely by the sole alternate, Trevor Larkin, who fell just three thousdandths short at 5.504 - 265.64.

On the Funny Car side, Mike Doushgounian made quite an impact in his season debut, clocking a top qualifying 5.543 - 263.08 to lead national contenders Brian Hough, who took the #2 spot with a close 5.572 - 265.33, while defending national champion, Doug Gordon finished down in the #5 spot with a 5.609 - 265.72 (top speed of the day) timelsip. Finishing above Gordon on the list was Oregon's Chris Marshall with a 5.591 - 263.92 and Colorado's Terry Ruckman (also at his first race of the season) with a solid 5.608 - 260.41 for the #4 spot. A bit of a surprise was seeing Nick Januik (currently #6 in national points) at the bottom of the field in the #7 spot with a troubled best (in the final session) of 7.836 - 96.25, after two earlier efforts in the 9-second zone.

With his top qualifying spot in TA/FC, Doushgounian earned the first round bye, but will have some serious opposition in the semi-finals, having to face either Terry Ruckman or Doug Gordon. Other first round pairings feature Brian Hough with lane choice over Nick Januik, and Chris Marshall having his pick over fellow Division Six racer, Randy Parker. In the TA/Dragster field, there's an even balance of four injected nitro and four blown alcohol cars. There will be two nitro vs alky matchups, with Cowie facing Kim Parker, and Chris Demke paired up with Mitch Myers. The it's blown vs blown as Joey Severance faces Mike Austin, and finally a pair of nitro burners as Casey Grisel faces Garrett Bateman.

If every car runs to their potential, there won't be any easy races in either field and by the final rounds roll around at 5pm, the competition should be especially fierce. We'll update this page with results during the afternoon and update the national points standings tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in Wichita, the FUNNY CAR CHAOS gang completed two rounds of qualifying last night at Kansas International Dragway's 58th annual Summer Nationals. The "usual suspects" Kirk Williams and Ken Singleton finished the evening in the #1 (Williams with a 3.725 - 203.80) and #2 (Singleton with a 3.794 - 202.25 positions. They were the only cars in the 3.70's and over 200 mph, as the #3 qualifier, Mike Newkirk finished well back with a best of 3.936 - 188.44 clocking. From there, the list dropped into the 4.10's (Shayne Lawson), then the 4.20's (three cars). The provisional bump spot for the "A" field was taken by Jim "Wicked Quick" Chase at a leisurely 4.402 - 165.20 pace.

From there, the "B" field stretched from #9's Chris "Brutus" Schneider's 4.471 - 157.18 time down to the #16 car on the list, Justin Herbst at 4.731 - 147.88. The "C" field started with #17 Scott Pareso at 4.756 - 146.82, and finished with #24's Robin Rish 5.577 - 129.65 at the bottom of the field. Sitting on the outside going into today's final qualifying session were series regulars Keith Jackson and Dustin Bradford who failed to complete a pass, while newcomers Tony Arcuri and Alex Barker both posted e.t.'s that fell well short of the field.

We will have results from that final qualifier and eliminations posted tomorrow, along with what we hope are a large batch of photos from our correspondent, BIG Bob Snyder.

2:00 PM UPDATE

The first round of eliminations at Woodburn have been run, and there were two lower qualified cars advancing in Top Alcohol Dragster: #7 qualifier Mitch Myers over #2 Chris Demke. Demke left first by two hundredths, and held the lead until half track, when Myers' A/Fuel horsepower started to take over, but at the 1000' mark, Demke was still leading by .007 before the engine shut down (I'm guessing the blower backfired or the belt came off) and he coasted to the loss at 5.901 - 195.95 to Myers' improved (over qualifying) 5.333 - 270.43 clocking.

The second "upset" saw Garrett Bateman come out of the #5 spot to take the win over #4 qualified Casey Grisel. With only two hundredths of a second separating them in qualifying, it could be called a "pick 'em" race, but after holding the lead until nearly half track, Grisel apparently was forced to pedal and fell back badly before getting on the loud pedal again to stop the timers at 5.801 - 253.87. However, that was a long way behind Bateman's winning time of 5.349 - 276.72.

The two featured protagonists coming into the event, Shawn Cowie and Joey Severance, both advanced easily, with Cowie pounding out a new low e.t. of the meet 5.232 - 278.37 to cover Kim Parker's valiant effort of 5.593 - 262.00. Parker left first by nearly five hundredths, but Cowie took the lead before the 60' clocks and steadily increased the gap to the finish line. In the other pairing, Severance improved slightly over his qualifying time and put down a good 5.310 - 272.47 to put Mike Austin back in the trailer. They left the starting line together, but Severance had opened a sizeable gap before the 60' mark and kept pulling away until Austin shut off at the 1000' mark.

The semi-finals in T/AD will see Cowie holding lane choice over Bateman, and Severance over Myers. Could it be yet another Cowie vs Severance final round? Stay tuned!

In Funny Car, low qualifier Mike Doushgounian earned the bye run and didn't take it easy, pounding out a very good 5.570 - 265.17 to move into the semifinals. In the first pairing of the round, Brian Hough took a wire-to-wire win over a troubled Nick Januik, putting a merciful end to Nick's "lost" weekend. Hough ran just a hair slower than his qualifying best, turning a 5.590 - 262.23 to advance over Januik's very early shutoff 10.354 - 83.15 pass.

The next pair saw Randy Parker put up a good fight against heavily favoured Chris Marshall, leaving first and holding a narrow lead until almost the 1000 ft mark, before falling short by a car length at the finish line, 5.714 - 256.91 against Marshall's winning 5.640 - 262.23 effort. That led to the final match of the first round, and Doug Gordon turned up the wick to run low e.t. of the round (and top speed of the meet) at 5.551 - 266.82 to put an early end to Terry Ruckman's day as he shook hard off the line and slowed to a 11.692 - 74.33 for the loss.

That set up semi-final matchups of Gordon (with lane choice) against Doushgounian, and an all-Oregon battle of Hough vs Marshall, with Hough having his pick of the lanes. The next update will be coming up in an hour or so. As always: stay tuned!

4:00 PM UPDATE

The semifinal rounds have been completed at Woodburn and the final round that we were predicting isn't going to happen. Leading off the semis, Joey Severance advanced to the final with a consistent 5.329 - 272.47 pass to easily cover Mitch Myers' early shutoff 6.156 - 182.59. In the other pairing, Shawn Cowie met Garrett Bateman and lost, as Bateman laid down a decent 5.412 - 278.89 for the win, while Cowie either shoook the tires or went up in smoke, or both, and coasted to a losing 9.818 - 87.38 time.

In Top Alcohol Funny Car, the first pair out, Brian Hough and Chris Marshall, had a good race until the 300' mark, where it appears that Hough was forced to pedal, and cross the finish line at a losing 5.831 - 248.96, while Marshall turned on the winlight with a much quicker 5.587 - 265.01 pass. As it turned out, that was good enough to give him lane choice in the final against Doug Gordon, who put away Mike Doushgounian by a 5.717 - 255.60 to 8.193 - 107.60 margin, as Doushgounian was out of it early and coasted to the loss.

The Funny Car Chaos event at Wichita finished qualifying with a great final session that saw a number of racers step up and tighten up all three fields. Unfortunately, our photographer (BIG Bob Snyder) hasn't been able to send along any pictures yet. With a long drive ahead of him on Sunday (1000+ miles of driving home to Phoenix, we may not see anything until late Monday.


The latest update as of July 9, 2021


Going into this weekend, the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series has seen eight regional and six national events completed. When the tire smoke clears tomorrow night at Woodburn, OR's Western Regional, there will be 13 confirmed and one possible (Mission, BC) regional events left on the schedule. With the cancellation of Seattle's Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, there are nine more national events remaining for the Lucas Oil racers. Topping the agenda at these races are the Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars and that's where our focus is aimed.

The car count at this weekend's race in Oregon is looking a little low, as seven dragsters and five funny cars ran during yesterday's test session. Among them were two of the top contenders for the national championship (Doug Gordon and Brian Hough in Funny Car, and Shawn Cowie and Joey Severance in Dragster. The balance of the fields are all competitive cars, and with the weather forecast sunny and warm (90F +/-), conditions should be good for the three supercharged alky dragsters (Cowie, Severance, and Chris Demke). We'll be following the action via NHRA's "Live Timing" application and post the updated national points standings on Monday.

Further east, the FUNNY CAR CHAOS crew is at Wichita's Kansas International Dragway for their 58th annual Summer Nationals, as qualifying starts this evening and concludes tomorrow afternoon, with eliminations to follow tomorrow night. There's 30 confirmed pre-entries, with nine of the top ten, and 15 of the top 20 cars in the points standings in attendance. The major battle between two-time defending champion Ken Singleton and NHRA "Big Show" Top Alcohol challenger Kirk Williams will continue, with just six points separating the top two racers in the FCC.

This weekend's race will be number six of the eight events on their 2021 calendar, and with the "dropped" race rule in place, where each racer drops their lowest points earning event from the final standings, Singleton and Williams would be tied if the season ended now. There are provisions for tie-breaking but it's not worth exploring all the possible permutations at this time. After this weekend's event, the series takes a summer break before resuming at Mo-Kan Dragway on Labor Day weekend, and wrapping up the season at the Alamo City Motorplex (San Antonio, TX) the first week of October.


The latest update as of July 7, 2021


NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

NOTE: Click on the image to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings

TAFC National Points Standings

There is one correction (actually, a few) to make to the NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car standings, as Dan Pomponio, who ran at last weekend's North Central regional event, earned 10 points for his qualifying attempt during the first session on Friday. The car broke after the burnout, and never came out of the pits for the rest of the event, so he wasn't listed on the qualifying sheets as he never staged the car under power. However, because he made an attempt to run, he earned the 10 "participation" points, which kept him in the Top Ten at #9 and left Matt Gill in #10 and Tony Bogolo in the #11 position.


The latest update as of June 21, 2021


NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

It was a busy weekend for the NHRA Top Alky cars, with events on both sides of the country: Lebanon Valley Dragway in New Jersey, and Bandimere Speedway in Colorado. And it did have some effect on the points standings, with Shawn Cowie continuing his climb up the charts as he moved within 32 points of leader Jackie Fricke, courtesy of his win at the Western Regional at Bandimere. Fricke was competing at Lebanon Valley but fell in the semifinal round to Duane Shields, who won the event and moved up one spot to #4 with his win.

James Stevens had a good weekend at Denver, only falling in the final round to Cowie, and gained one spot to #6, while 1st round loser Joey Severance also advanced a position to #7 over Karen Stalba who was idle over the weekend. One more racer climbed into the Top Ten, as Rich McPhillips Jr. finished runnerup to Shields and bumped into the #9 spot.

Here's the updated standings that also show who's racing this coming weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Norwalk. It's going to be quite a battle, with eight of the top ten cars in attendance, and a field of 20 competing; the largest car count since the second Las Vegas event in 2019. It's a fairly diverse field with seven blown alky cars competing against 13 injected fuel burners. It's definitely going to be a great show for the fans with some incredible performances on tap.

NOTE: Click on the image to see a larger - and easier to read - version of these tables


TAD National Points Standings

On the Funny Car side, points leader (and defending champion) Doug Gordon won the Denver event and lengthened his lead to 127 points over #2 (and idle) Bob McCosh Jr.. Below McCosh, Wyoming's Kris Hool vaulted over the also idle Sean Bellemeur into the #3 spot. Two racers bumped into the Top Ten, as Lebanon winner, Dan Pomponio and runnerup Matt Gill moved into the #9 and #10 positions respectively, bumping out Aryan Rochon and Mark Billington in the process.

One final note concerns the red numbers appearing in a few places in the standings. They indicate points that have been waived, which starts once a racer attends more than three regional and seven national events (the most that a racer can earn points from). We've guessed which races were waived as the NHRA website hasn't been completely updated to reflect those decisions.


TAFC National Points Standings

In other drag racing news, the third event on the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Series calendar took place at Bowling Green, Kentucky's Beech Bend Raceway Park over the weekend. The Holley National Hot Rod Reunion was a very successful event, with full fields of Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars in competition. We know that nine AA/FD's attempted to qualify, and that Jimi Young defeated Dan Horan Jr. in the final, with both drivers recording great e.t.'s and speeds. On the Funny Car side, the "Illinois Thunder" entry of Levi Keenen was low qualifer and took the event win over John Smith's Firebird-bodied "Entertainer" in a close race.

We do have a large number of photos from Friday's qualifying at Bandimere, courtesy of our Western correspondent, Dale Fackler but it's going to be later in the week before we can get them posted. Sometimes, real life, and a short holiday, take precedence over the world of drag racing. As always, stay tuned for updates, photos and news as soon as we have time to get to it.



Back to the Top of the page

The latest update as of June 15, 2021


Funny Car Chaos - Kearney - 2021

We've got photos from the final qualifying session and the first two rounds of eliminations from Saturday's FUNNY CAR CHAOS event at Kearney Raceway Park. The captions and details will follow a little later. It's a busy week of things non-drag racing here at Northern Thunder, so please bear with us.

Here's the updated FUNNY CAR CHAOS points standings (which also show the pre-entry list for the next race on the schedule) following the Kearney Raceway event. It only shows the top ten cars due to space considerations, as there's nearly 80 (!) racers on the list at this point in the season.


FCC Points Standings

QUALIFYING - FINAL Session

Jon Reich - 'Blitz Kreig' --- Jon Reich - 'Blitz Kreig'

Jon Reich - tire tracks --- Jeff Krug - 'Obsession'

BackUp Girls --- Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream'

Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' --- Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder'

Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender'

Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' --- Ken Singleton - 'High Risk'

Pete Mass - 'Hot Pursuit' (near lane) 
vs James Hardman - 'Sundancer' (far lane) --- Standing for the national anthem


ELIMINATIONS - Round ONE


"A" Field

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (right lane) 
vs Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven' (left lane) --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' (right lane) 
vs Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' (left lane)

Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Bros.' (right 
lane) vs Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' (left lane) --- Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' (right 
lane) vs Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War' (left lane)

"B" Field

Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (right lane) 
vs Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (left lane) --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' (right lane) 
vs Jeff Krug - 'Obsession' (left lane)

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' (right lane) 
vs Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' (left lane) --- Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (right lane) 
vs Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (left lane)

"C" Field

Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream' --- Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream' (right 
lane) vs Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' (left lane)

Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream (right lane) 
vs Bill Naves - 'Shooting Star' (left lane) --- Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' (right lane) 
vs Jon Reich - 'Blitz Kreig' (left lane)

Scott Pareso - 'Altered Reality' & BackUp 
Girl



The latest update as of June 13, 2021


Funny Car Chaos - Kearney - 2021

Sunday morning update

We're waiting for the photos from Saturday's final qualifying session and eliminations, but we do have the results of the race, courtesy of the FUNNY CAR CHAOS Facebook page and website.

Eliminations - Round One

In the first round there were some incredible runs in the "A" field, with two cars in the 3.70's, three more in the 3.80's, and one in the 3.90's. Closest race of the round saw Mike Newkirk turn on the winlight with a great 3.875 - 173.99 to overcome the quicker 3.861 - 189.39 of Jim Chase. Newkirk's very quick light (.025) was enough to cross the line ahead of Chase's (.049) launch. The only problem was that Newkirk took out a timing block and gave the win back to Chase.

Other highlights of the round were Ken Singleton advancing over Keith Jackson with low e.t. of the round at 3.753 - 204.26. Another of the hitters to move into the semis was Kirk Williams with a 3.756 - 204.73 (top speed of the meet) over the redlighting 3.950 - 188.33 pass of Shayne Lawson. The final winner of the round was Lance Van Hauen, laying down a 3.899 - 194.58, despite a late leave (.157 to .074) to cover Chuck Loftin's not quite good enough 4.122 - 188.41.

In the "B" field, there were two very close races that were decided on the starting line via the redlight route, as Jeff Krug went red by .007 to give the win to Steve Vang as both racers carded 4.287 e.t.'s. The other foul start was even closer to perfect as the .004 too early leave of Dave Gallegos gave the automatic win to Tom Furches. The other winners in the round were Jeff Cameron, over Chris Schneider) and Steve Timoszyk over Daniel Butherus.

The final group, the "C" field saw one car (Jordan Ballew) break before staging, and one car (Bill Naves) breakout. With the index for the field set at 4.29 (two tenths quicker than the top qualifer in that field), Naves left late (.165 to .043) then blasted through the index with a 3.938 - 183.07 that negated the winlight shining in his lane, and advancing opponent Dustin Bradford. The beneficiary of Ballew's breakage was Scott Pareso who advanced with an easy 4.739 - 147.09.

The closest race of the round for any field was between Nick Johnson who barely eked out the win over Matt Nissen. Leaving first by a .008 to .106 margin, Nissen nearly made his 4.609 cover Johnson's much quicker 4.500, but the gap at the 660' mark was .011 second in Johnson's favour. Closing the round was Andy Mears taking an easy win over a slowing Jon Reich.

Eliminations - Semi-Finals

If you thought the action was intense in the first round, it got even hotter in the semis. In the first pair of the "A" field, Ken Singleton kept things rolling with a solid 3.74 - 198 decision over Lance Van Hauen's very good 3.88 - 196 losing effort. The other pair saw an identical winning time as Kirk Williams put down a slightly better 3.74 - 204 to move into the final. His opponent in the semis was Jim Chase who posted another very good pass of 3.92 - 189 that came up short against Williams' continuing rampage through the FCC ranks.

In the "B" field, the times were identical for the two winners, as Jeff Cameron laid down a to advance past Steve Vang's good try 4.30 - 165. In the other pairing, Steve Timoszyk made his 4.12 - 176 stand up for the win over Tom Furches very close 4.26 - 164. What made that race so close was the .064 to .170 advantage for Furches at the starting line. At the finish, the margin was less than a car length.

Things calmed down somewhat in the "C" field semis, with Andy Mears punching his ticket to the final with a 4.37 - 161 win over Nick Johnson's good try 4.51 - 154. In the other pair, Dustin Bradford moved into the final, courtesy of his 4.63 - 125 (early shutoff) over Scott Pareso's second best 5.07 - 146 effort.

Eliminations - Finals

We don't have times and speeds to report for the finals, but the winners were as follows:

"A" Field: Ken Singleton over Kirk Williams

"B" Field: Steve Timoszyk over Jeff Cameron

"C" Field: Andy Mears over Dustin Bradford


The latest update as of June 12, 2021


Funny Car Chaos - Kearney - 2021

Saturday morning update

It was quite a surprise to see my email inbox filling up with photos late last night, but I managed to get them all downloaded and posted (see below). Now all I have to do is fill in the blanks underneath the pictures. The photos from today's final qualifying and eliminations at the FUNNY CAR CHAOS event in Kearney probably won't arrive until tomorrow morning... if we're lucky. With a drive of 1172 miles home facing him, our ace lensman (BIG Bob Snyder) might just hit the road and send the pics along on Tuesday. Fingers crossed.

A few notes from the FCC event: All 29 cars on the pre-entry list showed up for this event and they all made at least one qualifying pass. While some of the familiar faces and cars were missing from the lineup, they were replaced by some newcomers to the circuit, which included Steve Cluck ("Red Headed Stepchild"), David Hill ("Zeus"), and Jon Reich, who's doing double duty, debuting his blown fuel "Blitz Kreig" and an injected alky car "Cox Pinto" (a recreation of a car campaigned in the early 1970's.

Joining them were Jim Chase, out for the first time this year in his "Wicked Quick" '57 Chevy, and a handful of cars that have stayed home since the season opener in March at the Texas Motorplex. Besides the 29 FCC cars, there are four injected alky funnies, and a pair of Jet Funny Cars. Lots of action and some great performances are going to make this weekend a big one at Kearney Raceway Park.

7:00 PM UPDATE: The first round of eliminations is over at Kearney Raceway and there were some incredible battles in all three fields. Only one racer (Danny Smith) reported in broken, allowing the #25 car (Scott Pareso) into the "C" field. We'll have details later this evening and photos tomorrow morning. Hopefully.

Gulf Western Oil Winternationals logo

In other drag racing news, the 53rd Australian Winternationals is in progress at Willowbank Raceway (Ipswich, QLD). It's always the biggest event on the Australian drag racing calendar, and with things starting to return to "normal" downunder, it's being run for the first time in two years. There's a dozen Top Alcohol cars entered, good numbers of Pro Slammer (all-out Aussie Pro Mod), Pro Stock (with small-block engines), Supercharged Outlaws (a great mix of altereds, funny cars, dragsters, etc), and a host of support classes, but the "flagship" class (Top Fuel) is sorely lacking with just three entries. With the Rapisarda Motorsports team not there (they have four cars), it's not much of a show, but Peter Xiberras gave the fans a great show last night, running the quickest 100 ft. pass in Aussie history, at 3.76 - 320+ mph... but lost the race to opponent Phil Lamattina due to a redlight.

Sidenote: The last time I went down a dragstrip in my Top Alcohol Dragster was there at the 2001 edition, where we were fortunate enough to qualify in the tough 8-car field. We won't mention that we dropped a valve on the first round burnout and finished with the car next to the wall and me standing (on the other side) watching my opponent, Mark Brew, make a 5.72 solo pass that stood for low e.t. of the meet. At least we knew that we'd have had a very tough time coming close to that number.

We've got heaps of stories and pictures from those days buried somewhere in the archives of this website, but we will endeavour to dig them up and update the "What's Old" pages, which while they have lots of links to What's New page updates, the html code behind them needs to be updated to the current directory structure of the website. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen any time soon though.

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Division 6 logo

After a total washout yesterday due to unrelenting rain, the NHRA Western Regional Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series is underway at Seattle's Pacific Raceways. The forecast for today is fine, but after that, it's more rain starting late this evening, and continuing throughout Sunday. The plan is to have everyone make one qualifying run, then go straight into eliminations, with a view to completing the event in one day. We'll bring you updates on the Top Alcohol cars when they run.

6:30 PM UPDATE: We have the details on the Top Alcohol classes running at the NHRA Western Regional at Seattle. Only seven dragsters and just three funny cars showed up and they were given one qualifying pass before going into eliminations. With rain forecast to start again this evening, it looks like they may just get finished before the track shuts down for the evening.... and with the forecast bad for tomorrow, that would most likely be the end of the event for now.

The funny cars just finished their second, and final, round of eliminations, and Oregon's Chris Marshall took the win over Brian Hough. The other racer, Top Ten contender Nick Januik redlighted in the first round and got an early start on the long drive home to Las Vegas. The win marked Marshall's first NHRA appearance of the season, as he's been on the MidWest Drag Racing Series tour up until now.

The Top Alcohol Dragsters still have the final round to run (scheduled for 8:00 pm). Low qualifier was the Canadian, Shawn Cowie who blasted out a 5.178 - 277.32 that earned him a bye run in the first round in the 7-car field. Following not too far behind in qualifying were the A/Fuel cars of Garrett Bateman (5.247) and Mitch Myers (5.257). Cowie shook hard before the 330' mark and shutoff to an 8-second clocking, while Casey Grisel stepped up BIG and laid down a 5.206 to advance to the semi-final with lane choice over Cowie. The other first round wins went to Bateman and Myers, with Bateman holding lane choice for their semi-final match.

The semi-finals just finished running and Cowie dispatched Grisel with a 5.203 - 279.09 when Grisel was forced to lift at the 500' mark. In the other semi, it was Myers winning over Bateman, setting up the final round match between Myers and Cowie, with Cowie holding lane choice in that one.

8:30 PM UPDATE: The final results are in from Seattle and it was Mitch Myers taking the win with a great 5.226 - 273.77 over Shawn Cowie's pedal-job 5.474 - 274.72 pass. Cowie launched first, but Myers took back the lead at the 60' mark, then when Cowie had to pedal at the top of low gear, he lost enough momentum that he trailed Myers by three car lengths at half track. From there to the finish line, Cowie poured on the power, clocking a higher speed than Myers, but at the stripe it was a trainlength between the two cars.


The latest update as of June 11, 2021


Funny Car Chaos - Kearney - 2021

Yes, we've got another FUNNY CAR CHAOS event happening, with two qualifying sessions tonight, a final one tomorrow afternoon, and eliminations tomorrow night. Our photographer, BIG Bob Snyder is there and ready to capture all the action and give us the insider details that he picks up in the pits, in the staging lanes, and around the starting line. Here's the photos from the first two sessions. NOTE: Funny Car Chaos doesn't post the results from each qualifying session on Friday; the sheet they put out at the end of the evening shows the best results for each car on the day and we can't tell which session produced which e.t.'s and speeds for the racers.

Qualifying Session #1

Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' --- Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed'

(LEFT) Leading off our qualifying coverage, last week's hard luck "winner", Chuck Loftin rebuilt the engine and got the "Motivation" Mustang down the track in good order, with a Friday best of 4.011 - 183.74 that was good enough for the #5 position on the ladder

(RIGHT Back out for the first time since the season opener, Mike Newkirk pushed his "Disturbed" entry to a very good 4.017 - 163.81 as yet another NHRA Top Alky "refugee" joined the FCC party. His best run of the day left him just one spot behind Loftin, in the #6 spot

Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' (near lane) 
vs Dave Gallegos - 'Nitro Clown' (far lane) --- Lance Van Hauen - 'Hauen Bros. Racing' (near 
lane) vs Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' (far lane)

(LEFT) We've got a pair of cars in this photo, with Steve Vang mostly obscured in the near lane, and Dalle Gallegos already trailing in the far lane in his "Nitro Clown". He didn't exactly ignite the scoreboards, but his decent 4.424 - 130.67 effort put him in the #13 position and a spot in the middle of the "B" field

(RIGHT This time we've got both cars in the frame, with Lance Van Hauen (near lane) starting to run away from Nick Johnson in the "Prairie Fire" (far lane). Van Hauen stopped the clocks with a great 3.948 - 192.82 pass that showed the true potential of his combination and put him near the top of the heap in the #3 position, while Johnson was well back at 4.518 - 153.42, only good enough for #17 and a possible spot in the "C" field

Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' --- Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick'

(LEFT) One of the best appearing cars on the circuit, the "Dragon Slayer" '57 Chevy of Andy Mears put down a solid 4.506 - 156.86 that hung on to the final spot in the "B" field in the #16 position going into the final qualifier on Saturday

(RIGHT Looks like we've got a pair of '57's in the field, with Jim Chase brought out his "Wicked Quick" entry for the first time this season, didn't waste any time making his mark on the field, blasting out a 3.966 - 187.18 with his blown alky Hemi power, that left him sitting #4 after two sessions

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War'

(LEFT) The iconic "Detroit Tiger" tribute car of Michigan's Steve Timoszyk fell a little short in the e.t. department as it appeared he shut off early to a 4.299 - 133.49, placing him 10th on the list, near the top of the "B" field

(RIGHT From the Dept. of Corrections, I assumed that the "Man O' War", a former Paul Romine-owned and driven car that ran in the NHRA Heritage Series on nitro, was still using the yellow fuel at Funny Car Chaos races. NO, I was wrong, it's a blown alky car and it still runs fast but without the nitro. Shayne Lawson didn't let the lack of liquid horsepower prevent him from running a very good 4.040 - 181.13 that placed him in the lucky #7 spot in the "A" field

Steve Cluck - 'Red Headed Stepchild' --- Pete Mass - 'Hot Pursuit' (near lane) vs 
Don Finley - 'Mile High Missile' (far lane)

(LEFT) Here's one of the newcomers to the circuit, as Steve Cluck debuted his Camaro-bodied "Red Headed Stepchild" and didn't have the most auspicious debut, with a "best" for the day of 6.868 - 78.04 that left him at the very bottom of the list in the #29 spot. Obviously some serious improvement will be needed in his last chance to qualify on Saturday

(RIGHT As a special feature, the FCC has invited four injected alcohol-burning cars to join the party, and we've got two of them (mostly) in this frame. In the near lane (partially obscured) is the "Hot Pursuit" of Pete Mass from Colorado, while on the far side, it's another Coloradan, Don Finley in the appropriately named "Mile High Missile". We don't have any times or speeds to report for these cars though

Excited videographer

Looks like this one happy camper, as the FCC videographer lets everyone know he's impressed with the performances going past him


Qualifying Session #2

Farm country tire dragger --- Jon Reich - 'Blitz Kreig'

(LEFT) Track prep equipment comes in all shapes and sizes, and this dual-purpose unit that works in the fields on weekdays is converted to a tire dragger on race weekends

(RIGHT Leading off the evening session was series newcomer Jon Reich in his "Blitz Kreig" entry. He didn't get all the power down to the ground in his debut, but a respectable 4.740 - 132.01 put him in the #24 spot and a toehold on the bottom rung of the "C" field ladder

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (near lane) vs 
Danny Smith - 'Snafu' (far lane)

Warming up the tires before his qualifying attempt, Chris Schneider heated the hides in the "Brutus" Mustang, then staged up against Danny Smith in the "Snafu" car (far lane). Smith was a little rusty, not having run since the season opener, and it was reflected in the 4.655 - 147.68 timeslip that put him #23 spot going into Saturday. Schneider meanwhile, put down a better 4.579 - 153.89, good for #19 on the list

Matt Nissen - 'Runnin' Down A Dream' (near 
lane) vs Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' (far lane) --- Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (near lane) 
vs Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT) It's a pair of cars in this photo, with Matt Nissen in his "Runnin' Down A Dream" (near lane) leaving first, but finishing second as he stopped the clocks at 4.617 - 152.38 (#21), while opponent (in the far lane), Steve Vang punched out a better 4.333 - 164.07 for the #11 spot in his "Wicked Weekender" entry

(RIGHT Another pair, leaving together, had Dustin Bradford (near lane) in the "American Dream" 'Cuda clocking a 4.596 - 133.75 to hold down the #20 spot, while in the far lane, Jordan Ballew in his beautiful Camaro-bodied "Ballew Thunder" crossed the finish line first with a #15 qualifying 4.505 - 157.25 pass

Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (near lane) vs 
Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' (far lane) --- Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' (near 
lane) vs Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' (far lane)

(LEFT) In the next pair, Justin Herbst (near lane) could only push his little Monza-bodied "Scorpion" to a sub-par 4.926 - 140.63 that left him outside the 24 car group that qualifies for eliminations. His #26 position left him just one more chance to move into the "C" field (or better). In the far lane, Jim Chase made a second pass with his '57 Chevy and ended the day with a best of 3.966 - 187.18 putting him #4 on the list

(RIGHT Last week's double winner, Kirk Williams (near lane) paired up with Andy Mears (far lane) in a one-sided affair. Williams blitzed the timers with a #2 qualifying 3.761 - 202.79 (top speed of the meet so far), to train-length Mears' #16 qualifying effort of 4.506 - 156.86 in his '57 Chevy

Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Bros. Racing' 
(near lane) vs Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (far lane) --- Nick Johnson - 'Prairie Fire' (near lane) 
vs Scott Pareso - 'Altered Reality' (far lane)

(LEFT) Coming out for his second attempt, Lance Van Hauen (near lane) stayed in the #3 spot with a 3.948 - 192.82 time, while Steve Timoszyk held onto the #10 position with his 4.299 - 133.49 best

(RIGHT In the near lane, Nick Johnson posted a #17 qualifying 4.518 - 153.42 best, while in the far lane - and mostly obscured - was the returning turbo-powered "Altered Reality" of Colorado's Scott Pareso made a troubled pass of 4.974 - 143.52 to land in the #27 spot, and well out of the "C" field going into Saturday's final qualifying session

Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (near lane) 
vs Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' (far lane) --- Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (near lane) 
vs Jeff Krug - 'Obsession' (far lane)

(LEFT) Driving the "Jake's Speed Shop" entry (in the near lane) was Jeff Cameron who posted a #9 qualifying 4.138 - 167.68 pass, while on the far side, Chuck Loftin made another qualifying pass that left him in the #5 spot with a 4.011 - 183.74 best for the day

(RIGHT co-points and defending series champion, Ken Singleton in the "High Risk" car made his presence felt in a big way as he captured the top spot on the charts with a low e.t. of 3.734 at 197.97 mph. In the far lane, the bright green "Obsession" of Jeff Krug pounded out a 4.333 at an early shut off 137.27, good enough for the #12 spot in the middle of the "B" field

David Hill - 'Zeus' --- David Hill - 'Zeus' (near lane) vs 
Mike Newkirk - 'Disturbed' (far lane)

Making his Funny Car Chaos debut was David Hill in his sharp looking "Zeus" entry. His Friday best was 4.876 - 148.30, leaving him just outside the "C" field in the 25th slot on the list. His opponent in this pairing was Mike Newkirk (far lane) in his Top Alcohol "Disturbed" entry that carded a very good 4.017 - 163.81 to hold down the #6 spot in the "A" field

Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War' (near lane) 
vs Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (far lane) --- Keith Jackson - 'High Heaven'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT

Tom Furches - 'Made in America' --- Don Finley - 'Mile High Missile'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT

Jon Reich - 'Cox Pinto' --- Jet Funny Cars - 'Quartermaster' (near lane) 
vs 'Black Pearl' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT



The latest update as of June 10, 2021


71st annual Motorcycle Hill Climb

And now for something completely different... we've got some awesome images from the Anamosa, Iowa Hill Climb that took place on the Sunday after last week's FUNNY CAR CHAOS event at Eddyville Dragway. Our travelling photographer, BIG Bob Snyder, has been a motorcycle maniac for most of his life and took a tour of the National Motorcycle Museum at Anamosa, then went to the hillclimb. Click on the poster and you'll be taken to a small page of photos from the event. Bob was able to secure clearance to shoot from the top of the hill, but he had to get up there first. Not up the race course, but it was still a major job coaxing the van up the back way to get to the top and into a position that allowed him to capture some great shots.

Don't worry about NORTHERN THUNDER changing its focus from drag racing, but we can always appreciate anything mechanically and graphically interesting when we're not up to our ears in all things drag racing. Next up will be event coverage from this week's stop on the FCC tour, at Kearney Raceway Park, starting tomorrow afternoon. Also, we'll have details from the NHRA Western Regional at Pacific Raceways... if the weather holds up, and right now it's looking rather doubtful for the weekend.


The latest update as of June 8, 2021


With the halfway point reached in the eight event FUNNY CAR CHAOS schedule for 2021, we've got the updated points standings posted below. It's interesting to note that there have been some major changes over the course of the last few races, and a number of new faces have appeared in the upper echelon of the standings at this point. Most surprising of all, to most followers of FCC, is the #3 driver on the list, Jade Cook, driving her canary yellow "Nemesis", and running without nitro, without a blower, without a turbo, even without a hemi. She's consistently gone rounds at every event this year and came close to reaching another final round at Eddyville before a small problem forced her to shut off before staging in the semi-finals.

While the two-time defending series champion, Ken Singleton is still on top of the standings, he's got company in the form of Kirk Williams who has run successfully at NHRA national and regional events in recent years, but has become a full-time member of FCC in 2021. In fact, he's got the hottest car and team in the pits currently, taking the rain-delayed Odessa final during the final qualifying session at Eddyville, then doubling up with the event win later in the day to pull into a tie for the points lead with Singleton. His final round opponent both times on Saturday was Mr. Singleton and the "High Risk" car. It looks like it's going to be quite a battle between these two for the rest of the ' season.

Click on the graphic below to see an enlarged version of the standings. If you want to see the full standings, go to the Funny Car Chaos website and you'll see all 72 drivers that have garnered points so far this year. Note that a racer can only count their seven best races towards the championship. If they miss a race, that counts as their "dropped" race in the final totals.


Funny Car Chaos Points Standings

The latest update as of June 7, 2021



Funny Car Chaos - Eddyville - 2021

We've got the photos from the final round of qualifying at Eddyville, taking place on Saturday afternoon. This time the angles are a little different, with the cars coming at our photographer with the chutes out in the shutdown. As a bonus, the first pair down the track were not only trying to improve their qualifying positions, but were also running the rain-delayed final round from the previous race at Odessa, TX. It was a titanic battle, with both drivers giving it all they had trying to secure the win, the $5000 winners purse, and the all-important points towards the season championship.

FINAL QUALIFYING SESSION

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (left lane) vs 
Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' (right lane) --- Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing'

(LEFT) The battle for the event win from race #3 (Odessa) saw Kirk Williams (left lane) take on Ken Singleton (right lane) and it was all over at the tree as Singleton left too early, handing the automatic win to Williams. But the top qualifier spot was still up for grabs and Singleton laid down his best run of qualifying at 3.861 - 201.79 in a vain attempt to take back the #1 spot on the ladder

(RIGHT Cruising past with one chute out, Kirk Williams won the race and held onto the top spot with a good 3.76 - 202 pass that was a little slower than his best Friday effort of 3.732 - 200.62

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' --- Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare'

(LEFT) Adding insult to injury, Singleton's chutes came out late and he wound up going off the end of the track, but fortunately got it stopped before going into the trees. There was no damage to the car and they were able to get it ready for eliminations without any major stress

(RIGHT) Making good on his last shot, Chris Foster pushed his "Everybody's Nightmare" into the "A" field, improving on his Friday best of 4.342 - 129.80 to a #5 qualifying 3.955 - 192.88 that was much more representative of the car's capabilities

Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' --- Phil Landram - 'Easy Money 2.0'

(LEFT) The last shot for Justin Herbst saw him improve from Friday's 4.577 to a 4.564 - 152.80, but he fell two spots from #18 to #20, remaining in the "C" field

(RIGHT) On the flip side, Phil Landram knocked more than one second off his previous best (6.882 - 66.86) and moved up one spot from #25 to #24 with an improved 5.546 - 124.41 to slot in near the bottom of the "C" field

Robbie Massey - 'Moats, Massey & Grimm' (near 
lane) vs Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder' (far lane) --- Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder'

(LEFT) There's actually two cars in this photo, but in the far lane - and far, far back - is Monty Stotz, while in the foreground is Robbie Massey in the "Moats, Massey & Grimm" entry. Massey didn't improve over his Friday best of 3.875 - 190.19 but it was still good enough to hold on to the #3 position

(RIGHT) Long after Massey went by, came down, trailing two chutes despite a 'no improvement' that wasn't quicker than his previous 4.505 - 144.28 and saw him drop out of the "B" field into the "C" group. As it turned out, that wasn't such a bad thing for series newcomer Stotz

Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Bros.' --- Ivan Mercer - 'Mac, Cheese & Joe'

(LEFT) Finally starting getting on top of the combination needed to get down the track, Lance Van Hauen made a big leap up the ladder, from #21 to #14 and placed himself solidly into the "B" field with a decent 4.401 - 165.32, nearly half a second quicker than Friday's efforts

(RIGHT) Showing off his flat black paint scheme, Ivan Mercer slowed after making a big improvement of nearly two seconds and six places in the order, from #24 to #18 and a spot in the "C" field with his 4.477 - 162.45 a vast step forward from a 6-second best on the first day of qualifying

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop'

(LEFT) The last pair of qualifying started with Steve Timoszyk in his great looking "Detroit Tiger" Monza, and he stepped up just a fraction, from a 4.049 on Friday to a 4.038 - 180.22, that dropped him back one spot from #6 to #7 in the final order

(RIGHT) Closing out our qualifying coverage, Jeff Cameron stepped up nicely, picking up 17 hundredths and climbing from #17 to #12 and a spot in the "B" field for eliminations with his 4.343 - 143.45 clocking


Before eliminations could begin, there was some serious shuffling of the ladders for the three fields. The #8 qualifier, at the bottom of the "A" field, Mary Reep withdrew with a broken motor. Chuck Loftin didn't have enough parts to repair the damage on his aborted Friday afternoon 9-second qualifier and couldn't make the call for the "C" field, while John Umlauf wasn't able to fix his car after Friday's two sessions and had to drop out of the "C" field also. A big shock was Tom Furches being unable to make a pass all weekend due to a bad input shaft (nobody had one that fit his combination), and saw himself drop from #3 in the points standings to the #5 position.


"A" Field - Round One Eliminations

Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (near lane) 
vs Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' (far lane) --- Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' 
(near lane) vs Bill Naves - 'Shooting Star' (far lane)

(LEFT) The first pair out of the lanes featured points leader Ken Singleton in the near lane against Steve Timoszyk in the far lane. Singleton left first by a tad and steadily pulled away going down the track, stopping the clocks with a great 3.826 - 201.70 to overshadow Timoszyk's good try of 4.263 - 171.04 in the losing cause

(RIGHT) Next up were the winner of the last event on the circuit, Kirk Williams (near lane) against the #9 qualifier (inserted to th "A" field due to Reep's breakage) Bill Naves in the "Shooting Star". Williams left first by nearly half a tenth and ran away from his fellow Top Alcohol racer with low e.t. of the round at 3.810 - 201.34 to cover Naves' slowing 4.109 - 149.80 pass

Robbie Massey - 'Moats, Massey & Grimm' --- Robbie Massey - 'Moats, Massey & Grimm'

It's BURNOUT time, as Robbie Massey lights them up big time in the left photo, then lines up in the near lane (right photo) against.... nobody, as Shayne Lawson had the chutes pop out before staging and left Massey to run a solo. He didn't take it easy, even cutting a great .026 light, then followed up with a 3.983 - 184.50 to advance to the semi-finals

Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare' --- Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare' 
(near lane) vs Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (far lane)

Another big time tire heater in the left photo, as "Everybody's Nightmare" warms up the track, then Chris Foster (near lane) stages up against Levi Keenen's Arrow-bodied "Illinois Thunder" in a fairly close side-by-side race. Leaving nearly together, Foster took the winlight with a 3.910 - 196.76 over Keenen's solid effort of 4.036 - 184.20. All four winners in the round ran in the 3-second zone, with Massey's 3.983 being the slowest winning time of the group


"B" field - Round One Eliminations


To eliminate possible sandbagging, the FCC rules stipulate that the "B" and "C" fields have an index, fixed two tenths of a second below the lowest qualifying e.t. in the respective fields. With one car broken in the "A" field (Mary Reep) causing Bill Naves to be elevated to the "A" group, the #10 qualifier, Steve Vang, who ran a best of 4.252 in qualifying became the standard bearer for the "B" field and consequently made the index for that group 4.05. Moving down to the "C" group, their quickest qualifer was Jeff Krug with a 4.466 and that made the index 4.27. The index system may sound a little odd, but it's necessary to keep people from going slow in qualifying, then "getting after it" and steamrolling the competition during eliminations. NOTE: The final rounds are heads-up; no breakout.


Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (far lane) --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' (near lane) 
vs Jeff Krug 'Obsession' (far lane)

(LEFT) Leading off the "B" field, Jordan Ballew (near lane) matched wheels with Chris Schneider in the very familiar "Brutus" in the far lane, and the race was over before they left the line, with Ballew turning on the redlight, making Schenider's 4.539 - 162.22 pass the winning timeslip, as Ballew was off the pedal early with a 4.638 - 126.80 coming up on the scoreboards

(RIGHT) Next out of the waterbox were Steve Vang (near lane) against Jeff Krug (far lane). Krug, in the "Obsession", cut a very quick .006 light, leaving half a tenth ahead of Vang and taking the holeshot win, with his 4.314 - 168.22 holding on for the win over Vang's quicker 4.296 - 165.56 losing effort

Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (near lane) 
vs Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' (far lane) --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (near lane) vs 
Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Bros.' (far lane)

(LEFT) Old against new, as Jeff Cameron in his late model body (near lane) took on the early Chevy "Dragon Slayer" of Andy Mears (far lane) and came close to the index with his winning 4.105 - 158.84 over Mears' 4.390 - 161.41 second best

(RIGHT) The round finished with fan favourite Jade "The Giant Killer" Cook (near lane) taking on the big horsepower Top Alcohol car of Lance Van Hauen, (far lane), leaving first by a smidge, then hanging on for the win with a solid 4.314 - 162.69 pass that took the winlight over Van Hauen's 3.930 - 193.30 effort. Can you say breakout? How about BREAKOUT! as Van Hauen went more than a tenth under the index, and his 193+ mph speed shows that he was on the loud pedal right into the lights


"C" Field - Round One Eliminations


Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (near lane) vs 
Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude' (far lane) --- Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' (far lane)

(LEFT)The bottom eight qualfiers ran in the "C" field and it opened with Mike Buchanan (near lane) in his "Hombre" Vega leaving second by a ton, "cutting" a .284 light against opponent Daniel Butherus's .062 launch. Starting with a deficit of nearly a quarter of a second, Buchanan made it up and more, crossing the 1/8-mile finish line with a 5.590 - 104.43 pass to easily cover Butherus's slowing 6.106 - 75.20 as he limped through the lights

(RIGHT) In the next pair, Monty Stotz (near lane) left second, but finished first, as he made up for his late launch (.195 to .057) against Dustin Bradford's 'Cuda, putting down a 4.608 - 135.87 to easily outdistance Bradford's 5.201 - 130.32 losing pass

Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (near lane) 
vs Phil Landram - 'Easy Money 2.0' (far lane) --- Ivan Mercer - 'Mac, Cheese & Joe'

(LEFT) Nearly giving it away with an almost comatose reaction time of .477, Justin Herbst (near lane) had his work cut out for himself, but his much better 4.597 - 149.70 was more than enough to take the win over Phil Landram's losing effort of 5.216 - 132.51 and advance to the semi-final

(RIGHT) Closing out the first round of eliminations, Ivan Mercer, the low qualifier in the "C" field, got to take a single as there was simply no one left in the pits ready to give him a race. He took it easy on the bye, stopping the clocks at a leisurely 5.039 - 116.10 to wrap up the round


"A" Field - Semi-Finals


Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (near lane) 
vs Robbie Massey - 'Moats, Massey & Grimm' (far lane) --- Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare' 
(far lane) vs Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' (far lane)

(LEFT) Opening the round of four with a great battle, Ken Singleton (near lane) cut a not-so-good light with a reaction time of .152, while opponent Robbie Massey (far lane) took a full tenth of a second advantage at the green with his .047 launch. It took all the horsepower that Singleton could muster to turn on the winlight with his 3.804 - 201.34 just holding off Massey's very competitive 3.941 - 188.68 effort. The margin at the finish was barely a car length

(RIGHT) The other pairing of the semi-finals didn't disappoint, as Chris Foster (near lane) left a tad ahead of Kirk Williams (far lane), but couldn't hold on for the win as his 3.893 - 198.24 fell to Williams' superior 3.827 - 200.62 pass. Again, it was only a one car length victory for the winner, but Williams lost lane choice to Singleton for the final round


"B" Field - Semi-Finals


Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (near lane) 
vs Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (far lane)

The first pair featured Jeff Cameron (near lane) against Chris Schneider (far lane), with both cars leaving almost together, but Cameron turning on the winlight with a 4.152 - 155.82 beating Schneider's 4.446 - 160.66 second best effort

Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' --- Jeff Krug - 'Obsession'

(LEFT)Putting down a nice burnout, Jade Cook looked like she might have a chance to be advancing to her third consecutive final round, but the car let her down after the tire smoker and she was forced to shut off before staging

RIGHT)The grateful recipient of Cook's misfortune was Jeff Krug and he made his best pass of the weekend, cranking out a very good 4.203 - 173.21 to advance to his first final round of his Funny Car Chaos career


"C" Field - Semi-Finals

Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (far lane) --- Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (near lane) vs 
Ivan Mercer  'Mac, Cheese & Joe' (far lane)

(LEFT)Starting the "C" field semi-finals were Monty Stotz (near lane) continuing his good luck ways with a winning 4.503 - 154.64 that was enough to make up for his late leave (.197) and defeat Justin Herbst (far lane), who took a five hundredths advantage at the green and hold the lead until the 300' mark, but saw his 4.767 - 133.93 fall short at the finish line

(RIGHT) The last race of the semi-finals saw both racers sit for a rather long time at the line, as Mike Buchanan's .265 reaction time actually outdid Ivan Mercer's even worse .462 effort. Once they actually got in motion, Mercer's 4.551 - 160.20 overcame his late launch deficit, and easily covered Buchanan's 5.170 - 129.80 losing pass


Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Ivan Mercer - 'Mac, Cheese & Joe' (far lane)

In the "C" field final it was Monty Stotz (near lane) taking the win in the "Blue Thunder" Camaro in his Funny Car Chaos debut, over Ivan Mercer in his "Mac, Cheese & Joe" entry


Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' 
(near lane) vs Jeff Krug - 'Obsession' (far lane)

Closing out the "B" field eliminations, it was Jeff Cameron in his "Jake's Speed Shop" car (near lane) taking the win over Jeff Krug in "Obsession" (far lane)


Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' 
(near lane) vs Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (far lane)

In the "A" field final for the BIG money ($5000 + contingencies to the winner), it was Kirk Williams in the "Williams Bros. Racing" entry (near lane) doubling up with his second event win of the day over Ken Singleton in the "High Risk" entry in the far lane. With the win, Williams moved into a tie for the points lead with Singleton at the halfway point of the season


Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' (near lane) 
vs Ray Kelley - 'Game Xchange' (far lane)

As an added bonus for the fans, they finished the night with an impromptu match race between a funny car, Steve Vang in the near lane, matched up with the "Game Xchange" Jet Dragster of Ray Kelley in the far lane. No times or speeds recorded



The latest update as of June 3, 2021



Funny Car Chaos - Eddyville - 2021

It's the fourth installment of the eight race schedule for the FUNNY CAR CHAOS CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR (2021), this week at Eddyville Raceway Park (Oskaloosa, IA) with our southwestern correspondent and ace photographer BIG Bob Snyder on hand to provide us with news and photos of the action. Two qualifying sessions were run last night, with the second round run under the lights and there were some great performances from the 27 cars that made it to the starting line. We'll start with the first session photos, then fill in the details and get the second session posted later today.

There were four no-shows from the pre-entry list, with the "Chi-Town Hustler", owned and driven by Mike Minick having the tow rig break down enroute, while another nitro burner, Vic Tiffin in the "Gold Digger" was unable to appear due to a back injury. The other two no-shows, Robin Rish and Jim Hidy went AWOL and aren't on the next event pre-entry list either.


Chuck Loftin - 'Motivation' --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis'

(LEFT) This is a weird looking photo, with smoke billowing off the tires, lots ofdeath smoke coming out of the pipes and a big redlight showing on the tree. It's hard to believe that Chuck Loftin could be having this much trouble on the launch in his "Motivation" Mustang, but judging by his #26 showing on the qualifying list with a 9.694 - 51.53, all the clues must add up to a wasted attempt and some wasted parts

(RIGHT) The surprise of the season is the string of strong performances out of what should be the most underpowered car in the field, but Jade Cook and her nitrous assisted "Nemesis" continuing to make good on that nickname for the car as her 4.388 - 156.47 effort put her solidly in the middle of the "B" field at #12


Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' (near lane) 
vs Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane) --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'

(LEFT) Making her series debut was Mary Reep in the flopper-bodied "Grim Reeper" after a decade or two of competing as an Outlaw Fuel Altered. She made her first passes count, finishing the day in the #7 spot on the list with a very good 4.096 - 181.97 pass to her credit

(RIGHT) Series regular Chris Schneider in the Troxel & Schneider "Brutus" put down a decent opening pass of 4.323 - 165.93 that left him in the #10 position, well into the "B" field going into Saturday's final qualifying session. As always, the fans loved his seriously smokey burnouts


Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' --- John Umlauf - 'Mass Chaos'

(LEFT) After a strong performance at the season opener at the Texas Motorplex with several runs in the 3.80's, FCC sophomore Levi Keenen put down an excellent 3.892 - 189.47 in his "Illinois Thunder" Arrow that saw him finish the day in the #4 spot, in the middle of the "A" field

(RIGHT) We're not 100% certain that this is John Umlauf Jr. (or is it Sr.?) in the "Mass Chaos" car, but his name appeared well down the qualifying sheet in #20 at 4.697 - 101.90 and a spot near the bottom of the "C" field. This car has much more potential, but he's only got one more chance on Saturday to show what it's capable of


Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' --- Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing'

(LEFT) Getting more than a little sideways coming out of the water is the familiar "Wicked Weekender" of Oklahoma's Steve Vang, and he put himself near the top of the "B" field with a Friday best of 4.252 - 160.37, leaving him in the #9 position

(RIGHT) This is the first of the NHRA Top Alcohol "refugees" to show up in our coverage as the Williams Bros. team, with Kirk Williams driving blasted into the 3.70's for the provisional #1 qualifying spot at 3.732 - 200.62. In the final qualifying session tomorrow he will face Ken Singleton in the rain-delayed final round from the previous race at Odessa, TX


Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Phil Landram - 'Easy Money 2.0'

(LEFT) Blitzing the tires on a big burnout, the "Detroit Tiger" of Steve Timoszyk blasted out a 4.049 - 173.08 to place him in the #6 position and solidly into the "A" field as he returns to the FCC circuit after skipping the last two Texas events

(RIGHT) Making his first appearance at Funny Car Chaos, Michigander Phil Landram launches his Camaro-bodied "Easy Money 2.0" to a mediocre best for the day of 6.882 - 66.86 that ended up in the #25 spot on the list and just below the bottom of the "C" field. It may be the perspective from the angle of the car, but it appears that the body is much wider and a little longer than the chassis as the wheels are oddly inset front and rear


Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare' --- Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare'

Here's two views of Chris Foster, burning out (left) and launching (right) in what he hopes will be "Everybody's Nightmare" as he returns to FCC for the first time since last season's visit to Eddyville. He's usually seen at NHRA races but likes to run with the Chaos crew when they come to Iowa, and he made a decent pass on Friday, despite shutting off early to a 4.342 - 129.80, good for #11 on the list and a spot in the "B" field


Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' --- Robbie Massey - 'Moats & Massey'

(LEFT) Warming the tires on the "Jake's Speed Shop" entry, Texan Jeff Cameron fell just short of the provisional "B" field, with a 17th best 4.513 - 149.60 pass leaving him well down the ladder

(RIGHT) Looking like the same story as Kirk Williams's as Robbie Massey made his first FCC start since last year's Eddyville race, with the expanded name "Moats & Massey & Grimm" on the car this year. Despite much race action over the past 18 months, Massey put down an excellent 3.875 - 190.19 that held up for the #3 on the ladder and possible lane choice in the first round of eliminations in the "A" field


Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Bros.' --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War'

(LEFT) Our last pair of cars in the first qualifying session featured another series newcomer and longtime NHRA Top Alcohol runner, Lance Van Hauen in the Van Hauen Bros. entry that didn't set the timers on fire with a first effort of 4.873 - 109.46 that left them in the #21 spot and in the middle of the "C" field

(RIGHT) Leaving hard in the beautiful "Man O' War" nitro-burning Mustang, Shayne Lawson broke into the 3-second zone with a very good 3.992 - 168.22, albeit with a slowing speed as he crossed the finish line. That placed him #5 on the list and well into the "A" field going into the evening session


Moving on to the second qualifying session, with cooler temperatures and presumably slightly better track conditions, we've got the under the lights shots to show you. With the longer days as we near the summer solstice, the skies don't get really dark as at the races earlier in the year, making for easier photography and better images. Even better, we've got lots of side-by-side shots in this batch. Since we don't know which session each racer turned their best times, we've only listed their best e.t.'s and speeds for the day.


Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (near lane) 
vs Andy Mears - 'Dragon Slayer' (far lane) --- Steve Vang - 'Wicked Weekender' (near 
lane) vs Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (near lane) 
vs Monty Stotz - 'Blue Thunder' --- Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' (near lane) 
vs Jeff Krug - 'Obsession' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' --- Phil Landram - 'Easy Money 2.0'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Phil Landram - 'Easy Money 2.0' (near 
lane) vs Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (far lane) --- Ken Singleton - 'High Risk' (near lane) vs 
Jeff Cameron - 'Jake's Speed Shop' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare' --- Chris Foster - 'Everybody's Nightmare' (near 
lane) vs Levi Keenen - 'Illinois Thunder' (far lane)

(LEFT) Coming out for his second shot at the track, Chris Foster in his black and red "Everybody's Nightmare" failed to improve on his earlier 4.342 - 129.80 clocking

(RIGHT) Here we've got Foster launching his Top Alcohol car in the near lane, while Levi Keenen in the "Illinois Thunder" is putting out some flames on the far side. As with Foster, he failed to improve on his earlier 3.892 - 189.47 clocking


Robbie Massey - 'Moats & Massey & Grimm' --- Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT) Burning out before making his second qualifier, Kirk Williams in the "Williams Bros. Racing" entry stayed with his best of 3.732 - 200.62 and held down the #1 qualifying spot going into tomorrow's final qualifying session


Robbie Massey - 'Moats & Massey & Grimm' 
(near lane) vs Kirk Williams - 'Williams Bros. Racing' (far lane) --- Ivan Mercer - 'Mac, Cheese & Joe'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' --- Daniel Butherus - 'Rat-A-Tude'

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)


Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' 
(near lane) vs Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War' (far lane)

(LEFT)

(RIGHT)



The latest update as of June 3, 2021



Funny Car Chaos - Eddyville - 2021

It seems like we've just barely finished posting the photos and some of the story from the Good Vibrations March Meet in May event and we're already prepping for this weekend's FUNNY CAR CHAOS event in Oskaloosa, Iowa, home of Eddyville Raceway Park, site of race #4 on the 2021 schedule for the FCC gang. Our photographer, Bob Snyder is already on site and will be sending us photos of all the action from Friday's qualifying and Saturday's final qualifying and eliminations. Then it's down the road a piece to Kearney, Nebraska's, Kearney Raceway Park for event #5 on the FCC schedule next weekend. It's going to be a busy month here, with even more race coverage coming from Bandimere Speedway over the next six weeks too. Stay tuned for all of that... and more.

For this weekend's FCC event at Eddyville, there are 31 cars pre-entered, including several newcomers to the circuit. Easily one of the most recognizable names from the history of Fuel Funny Car racing is the iconic "Chi-Town Hustler" and it will be there, driven by Mike Minick, the grandson of the original Chi-Town driver, Pat Minick. Joining the Hustler team will be another NHRA Top Alcohol "refugee" as Lance Van Hauen will bring his "little big show" car into the Chaos corral for the first time, joining Chris Foster, Kirk Williams and Bill Naves as four TA/FC's will compete with the assortment of blown fuel and alcohol and nitrous injected (Jade Cook and her "Nemesis" entry) cars for this event.

And as an added bonus, Wulff Pumps has stepped up with the money to support another "C" field, giving 24 cars a chance in eliminations. But wait... there's even more! There's four injected funny cars and a pair of Jet funny cars running too. It's guaranteed to be quite a show, and we can hardly wait for the first batch of photos from Big Bob tomorrow. Stay tuned for that and more this weekend.



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